Olympic veterans Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin gave astounding cross-country performances, landing the Americans at top spots heading into Tuesday's final jumping phase. Phillip Dutton's 3.2 time penalty allows the rider to jump to a competitive fifth place on the leaderboard. Martin's 3.2 time penalty score positions him right behind Dutton in sixth place. Dutton and Martin will continue the competition in hopes for individual titles. They were the only members of Team USA to complete French designer Pierre Michelet’s cross-country course, causing the team to discontinue competition for an Olympic title.
Rio marks Dutton’s sixth Olympics and third competing as a U.S. citizen. The 53-year-old Australian native is on track to earn his first individual title and first title with an American background. The duo falls 9.2 penalties behind Australian rider Christopher Burton’s first place score. If Mighty Nice performs another personal best test during the jumping phase, the duo will have a good chance of bringing home a title.
Martin doesn’t fall far behind Dutton. Ironically, Dutton and Martin share Australian backgrounds and both moved to the U.S. to compete in a more internationally environment with hopes of fulfilling their dreams of becoming elite riders. Martin’s star cross- country performance compensates for an average dressage performance, putting him in position to potentially take home his first Olympic title. Martin and Blackfoot Mystery must show the same dominance in Tuesday’s jumping phase as they did in the cross-country phase. The duo added a mere 3.2 time penalty points to their dressage score.
The main question is will either American be able to top Australian Christopher Burton, defending champion Michael Jung, or Astier Nichols? Riders will determine their fate in the final jumping phase on Tuesday at 9:00 am ETS.