Four-time Olympic medalist Beezie Madden and Breitling LS were the class of the FEI World Cup Jumping Final Sunday in Paris, pacing a field that saw three Team USA jumpers land among the top four.
In the two-round final at the AccorHotels Arena, Madden and Breitling LS outperformed American Devin Ryan and Eddie Blue, leaving a delighted Ryan second in his first world cup final.
At 54, Madden is the oldest rider ever to win the title. She is also only the second American to win the title twice; Conrad Homfeld won in 1980 and 1985.
In her 11th world cup final appearance, Madden made sure she and Breitling LS gave a tour de force from beginning to end. That included finishing at the head of the rankings of Thursday’s first round, clearing the course in a tidy 61.89 seconds. The start proved a good omen for Madden, who also took the first round back in 2013, the only other time she has won the world cup jumping championship.
Madden and Breitling LS returned to the course in excellent form Friday, maintaining their lead with calm, efficient jumps through the seven obstacles. Unruffled by success, horse and rider remained flawless through the first of two rounds in Sunday’s final, knocking only one rail for four penalty points, still enough to ensure Madden the right to spray her fellow competitors with champagne from the top step of the podium during the victory ceremony.
Sweden’s Henrik von Eckermann aboard Toveks Mary Lou sat second after the first of two rounds in the final, but dropped to third for the second straight year after what Eckermann characterized as a rider error during the final leg.
Three-time U.S. Olympic medalist McLain Ward and HH Azur, the defending champions from the 2017 in Omaha, Nebraska, opened the competition in 10th place after mistakes earlier in the week, but got stronger as the competition continued, eventually climbing to fourth.