Olympics equestrian: Nick Skelton misses second jumping gold

Nick Skelton just missed out on his dream of winning an individual Olympic showjumping medal for Britain.

The 54-year-old clipped a fence in the final round to hand gold to Switzerland's Steve Guerdat, the only rider to go clear in two rounds.

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The crowd's been great, I feel sorry for them that they came here to see us get another medal today and it wasn't to be

Nick Skelton

"It's one of those things," Skelton told the BBC. "It wasn't meant to be."

The Republic of Ireland's Cian O'Connor won bronze after a jump-off with Dutch rider Gerco Schroder, eight years after being stripped of Athens gold.

He lost that title when horse Waterford Crystal failed a drugs test. It is Ireland's first medal of London 2012.

Skelton, riding on Big Star, tied for fifth with countryman Scott Brash after making it into the final round of 22 at Greenwich Park. Ben Maher, another Brit, finished in a share for ninth.

Showjumper Skelton rues missed opportunity

"He jumped great and he hadn't touched a jump all week," added Skelton, who has never won an individual world or Olympic title in four decades in the sport. "It was the worst time to hit one. He's still fresh, he could go again. What can you do? He's unlucky."

Skelton, who recovered from a broken neck earlier in his career, came through hip replacement surgery last year to reach the Olympics. He will now have a back operation but has no plans to leave jumping behind.

"I need three months off, then I'll start again," said Skelton, who helped Britain win team showjumping gold earlier in the Games. "But we've got one [gold] and we'd have settled for that before we came.

"The crowd's been great, I feel sorry for them that they came here to see us get another medal today and it wasn't to be."

In the first of Wednesday's two individual jumping rounds, Skelton and Brash went clear inside the time limit, while Maher had one fence down.

But the trio all had fences down in round two, with only Guerdat coming through the entire day unscathed for gold.

O'Connor dropped the very last fence in a jump-off with Schroder for silver, pushing him down to third.

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