Cutty Sark fence dashes Skelton's hopes
Nick Skelton's bid for gold was undone by a fence called Cutty Sark
British star Nick Skelton's dream of Olympic individual showjumping glory ended in heartache for the second time.
Eight years after he agonisingly dropped out of the gold medal position in Athens, Skelton's hopes were sunk in Greenwich Park at a fence called Cutty Sark. It was the first error over six rounds of team and individual jumping at London 2012 for 54-year-old Skelton and his brilliant stallion Big Star.
"It has happened before, and it has happened again," a rueful Skelton said. "That is our game, you know. You touch one pole, and you can't get it back."
Asked if he was thinking about Athens, Skelton replied: "No. No, no. Not at all. I know I was sitting on the best horse today, and he was unlucky.
"It has been an amazing experience, and great to win in London, it's just a pity it all went wrong today."
Skelton slipped from a potential gold medal jump-off with the now newly-crowned Olympic champion Steve Guerdat, to finish equal fifth alongside his British colleague Scott Brash.
Ben Maher, having had a fence down in each of Wednesday's two rounds, ended up ninth, and Ann Moore remains the last British showjumper to win an individual medal in Munich 40 years ago.
Guerdat, 30, and Nino des Buissonnets ended an 88-year wait for a Swiss showjumping gold medallist.
"I knew that I had a freak of a horse under me, and if I rode well then everything was going to be easier," Guerdat said.
Holland's Gerco Schroder and the aptly-named London took silver after a jump-off against Cian O'Connor and Blue Loyd 12, who landed Ireland's first medal of the Games. O'Connor only gained a call-up for the final on Wednesday morning after Swede Rolf-Goran Bengtsson's mount Casall did not pass the final horse inspection.