- 19 Aug 08, 06:32 AM
It was a night of what could have been.
John Whitaker's forced omission from the team could well have cost Britain a show jumping medal.
John was said to be devastated to be sidelined after the appeal went against team GB.
He wanted to ride and had been led to believe that despite his withdrawal yesterday after Peppermill had a sore back, he would be allowed to.
Unfortunately for him and Britain, when Olympic medals are at stake it's dog eat dog and seven of the other teams decided they should protest, saying team GB had an unfair advantage if John was allowed to ride.
I can see their point, he would have done one round less, but it was a bit tight.
If Britain had played the game, John could have got on his 'not - right horse' last night and presented him at the first fence, deliberately refused and then been eliminated, only for him to reappear tonight with a fit again Peppermill and jump a great round for bronze?
But quite rightly the team decided it wasn't sporting or good for the show-jumping to do that.
The maths shows if Britain had John and Michael Whitaker we'd have probably won the gold!
It just reinforces what many past Olympians always say "to win an Olympic medal you need luck" and once again, team GB had none in the show-jumping!
Michael was so upset he struggled to speak during a live interview I did with him on Radio 5.
I really think he is great. It can't be easy for him to keep traipsing up to my commentary box three times a night to listen for ages while they cover all the other sports while we wait to do our horsey stuff.
We usually have a laugh though. Particularly while John Inverdale says something funny.
Tonight while we were waiting, Invers spent ages talking about how he'd visited a fabulous arena in Beijing which he'd been told was for the para-equestrian events.
I had to tell him they are actually being held here in Hong Kong and god knows what that place in Beijing was for!
Anyway, away from GB, I have to say it was a great night's jumping.
The course, once again proved really tricky. A true Olympic track. Full marks to the Americans. They did it again and stopped the Germans from a team gold clean sweep. They were nowhere near in the end.
Also well done to Canada and their team of three! Ian Miller must have thought he'd never win an Olympic medal. This is his ninth games and he's 61!
I said to Michael, maybe John will be around for 2012 after all!
Finally well done to Norway for winning the bronze and their first ever Olympic equestrian medal. It's great for the sport and great for neutral spectators.
Roll on Thursday's individual. All three Brits have qualified and don't forget Emma Hindle in the dressage final. It's the freestyle which is to music so it's a really good watch.
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