Eventing team claims Olympic three-peat

Andrew Hoy, Phillip Dutton, Matt Ryan and Stuart Tinney celebrate their Sydney gold-medal triumph.
Andrew Hoy, Phillip Dutton, Matt Ryan and Stuart Tinney celebrate their Sydney gold-medal triumph.

Stuart Tinney had never heard anything like it, before or since.

Bugger the polite clapping usually associated with the sport, the 20,000-strong crowd at the Sydney Equestrian Centre erupted when the hometown team won the three-day eventing Olympic gold medal.

And why wouldn't they, having just witnessed history in the making.

Australia's eventing team wrote themselves into Olympic folklore with their Sydney gold medal completing a three-peat - adding to victories in Barcelona and Atlanta.

Seven-time Olympian Andrew Hoy was part of all three and in becoming the first athlete since Dawn Fraser to win consecutive gold medals at three Olympics, had the crowd on their feet chanting "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Hoy, Hoy, Hoy".

Matt Ryan, who was part of the 1992 team, Phillip Dutton, who won gold in 1996, and the new Olympian, Tinney, on Jeepster, rounded out the Sydney crew.

"In another countries everybody is polite and they clap but when you're winning a medal in your home country it's really special," Tinney told AAP.

"It was very raucous. The stands were massive and really, really high and on three sides of the arena and they would jump and down and stamp their feet and it just made such an amazing sound.

"It sounded like it was going to fall down."

Despite their gold medal-winning pedigree the Australians weren't considered to be runaway favourites.

But run away they did, leading from the day one.

The four were considered great riders although their horses weren't noted showjumpers so they knew they needed to start well.

Tinney faced this in Rio in 2016 when the Australians dropped from gold to bronze in the showjumping on the final day.

Hoy, aboard his big grey Darien Powers, and Tinney shone, with the riders almost faultless in the opening two rounds of dressage and eventing (cross country).

After a nervous start for the team, Tinney only knocked one rail in the showjumping and they had the gold medal in the bag before their final rider Hoy took to the course.

"My horse jumped a little bitter than predicted," Tinney said.

"We had a few rails down but then so did Great Britain, who were closest to us, so we ended up winning it quite comfortably."

And Tinney should have collected two gold medals.

In every Olympics apart from Atlanta and Sydney, when there were changes to the program, the rider who had the best overall individual score won a gold medal for that as well as the team gold.

But he hasnt given up adding another, pushing for the Tokyo team where Australia will strive to regain their familiar position on top of the dais.

Australian Associated Press