The North American Team battled through an intense jump-off against Europe to win the gold medal at the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games on Tuesday.
North American team finished on zero faults
US Youth Chef d’equipe DiAnn Langer led Mattie Hatcher from the US, Mateo Coles from Haiti, Pedro Jose Espinosa from Honduras, Nicole Meyer from Mexico, and Marisa Thompson from Panama for Team USA. The team finished on zero faults, with a huge ten clear rounds throughout the three rounds of competition. Most noteworthy, Hatcher achieved a triple clear with her borrowed horse Santa Rosa Valery, one of three North American triple clears.
“I am so excited! All the trainers that were part of this team were out there riding every jump with us. The [riders] rose to the occasion and they got along fabulously; the team of trainers got along fantastically and worked together,” said Langer. “These riders got here through a selection process, so [each country] brought their best rider [to compete] under these circumstances. Borrowed horses, being able to work with different nationalities, and all of this went into the selection process. This was a great group and I really enjoyed working with all of them.”
Performing under pressure
The North American team brought the same drive and dedication to the second round, remaining in a three way tie with Europe and Australasia through four rounds. As a result, while Europe could afford faults from their anchor rider, Australasia dropped out of the running. However Hatcher (Little Rock, Ark.) and Santa Rosa Valery performed fantastically under pressure to ensure the jump off with Europe. There, North America managed the cumulative fastest time to secure the gold medal.
“The best feeling over my whole career”
“[Winning Youth Olympic gold] is the best feeling ever over my whole career,” said an excited Hatcher. “We only had four days [to get to know our horse], but it went really well. She was easy to click with and so willing [to work]. The [USA Jumping] development program has helped me learn more about the sport and what we need to do to reach our goals. DiAnn does an amazing job of informing us what we need to do, and it’s a blessing to have [that guidance from the American team].”