Great Britain got off to the best possible start in the cross-country stage of London 2012’s three-day eventing competition, after Nicola Wilson produced one of the finest rides of her career to come home clear and within the time limit.
Only two riders have returned under the allowed optimum course time of 10 minutes and 3 seconds. 30 year-old Christopher Burton of Australia is the other jockey to have completed within the time.
Although her faultless round sees Wilson placed third at the moment, it is likely that she will slip further down the leaderboard as the rest of the riders complete their rounds. Yet, she has strengthened Team GB’s chances of an excellent result at these Olympics.
Aboard Opposition Buzz, Wilson was greeted with a remarkable home reception and was visually touched upon finishing her round, as members of her entourage and Team GB team rushed up to congratulate her.
She wowed the 50,000 strong crowds at Greenwich Park with a time of 9 minutes 52 seconds.
Nicola Wilson’s performance will be paramount to the rest of the British team. She has set a marker almost and will be able to provide advice to the rest of her team-mates, whilst setting the standard in this thrilling event.
Some falls have occurred during the stage so far and perhaps the most notable of those was leading Australian rider Sam Griffiths. All fallers are automatically eliminated. A delay has therefore occurred, but Mary King is due to begin her round very shortly.
Dirk Schrade, one of Germany’s favourites, incurred 10.80 time penalties and now has an overall score of 50.60, having completed the dressage stage with a mark of 39.80.
Kristina Cook, William Fox-Pitt and Zara Phillips will all take to the stunning, but tough, Greenwich Park cross-country course later this afternoon.
Image courtesy of london2012.com