Vaulting: It’s the American Dream for Germany

Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven (GER) with Max - winners in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Pas de Deux – FEI / Richard Juilliart

It’s the American Dream for Germany, taking top honours in all classes.

FEI Vaulting World Cup Final 2023 – Omaha (USA), by Joanne Littlejohn

While there was little doubt that Germany would go home with a title, the question ahead of the Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final was just how many could they win?  

Women’s FEI Vaulting World Cup Competition

Kathrin Meyer (GER) had one foot firmly on the podium after her technical test, and she made it clear with her freestyle that she had no intention of letting anyone else have the top spot. Powerfully, she moved through her robotic freestyle to take the title at her debut FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final. Together with her Mum, Sonja Meyer, and her own horse, San Classico S, the trio proved an unbeatable combination (8.428). 

FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champion Kathrin Meyer (GER) winner with San Classico S in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Female Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champion Kathrin Meyer (GER) winner with San Classico S in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Female Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart

“I’m really happy, it was the first time I showed my new freestyle… and my new inside ground jump worked pretty well, I’m really happy with that.”

Kathrin Meyer (GER)

Danielle Bürgi (SUI) remained hot on the heels of the German vaulter. However, even with her creative freestyle winning the round, it wasn’t enough. Vaulting on Best Brew, lunged by Andrea Selch, she finished in second, only 0.082 behind (8.346). 

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Danielle Bürgi (SUI) with Best Brew second place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Female Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
Danielle Bürgi (SUI) with Best Brew second place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Female Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart


Professionalism and experience shone through for Julia Sophie Wagner of Germany. A technical hitch led to a music error at the start of her round, but she didn’t falter and instead pulled off an excellent freestyle to rise up the rankings and finish in bronze medal position atop DSP Sir Laulau with Hendrik Falk (7.791). The USA’s Kimberly Palmer was left just outside the medal positions scoring 7.736.

Julia Sophie Wagner (GER) with DSP Sir Laulau - third place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Female Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
Julia Sophie Wagner (GER) with DSP Sir Laulau – third place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Female Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart

Men’s FEI Vaulting World Cup Competition

In the Men’s competition, the first-round scores made all the difference. Home favourite, Daniel Janes performed the second-best freestyle but was unable to move up the leader board, finishing in sixth (7.190). Switzerland’s Andrin Müller excited the crowd and he clung on to his well-earned, day one, third place giving Andrea Selch and Best Brew another podium finish (7.514).

Andrin Müller (SUI) and Max third place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Male Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
Andrin Müller (SUI) and Max third place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Male Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart


Despite overbalancing in an early ground jump, Sam dos Santos just about held it together.  He recovered well and showed glimpses of huge potential in his freestyle for this season. The Dutch vaulter finished his first FEI Vaulting World Cup Final™ in second place, with Max and Sarah Krauss, and is sure to already have his eyes on the title (8.052).

Sam Dos Santos (NED) and Max second place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Male Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
Sam Dos Santos (NED) and Max second place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Male Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart


On this occasion, the men were completely outclassed by Jannik Heiland. With a 0.5 point lead, and on his 5th attempt, the German vaulter calmly executed his freestyle and took Sonja Meyer and San Classico S to the top of the podium for the second time today.

FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champion Jannik Heiland (GER) winner with San Classico S in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Male Final
FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champion Jannik Heiland (GER) winner with San Classico S in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Male Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart

“It’s a massive arena, it was a very great feeling and it’s an honour for me to be here… To win the World Cup Final, it was a big wish for me to get this title my whole life.”

Jannik Heiland (GER)

Pas de Deux FEI Vaulting World Cup Competition

The German domination continued into the Pas de Deux class. There was no problem for DSP Sir Laulau and Hendrik Falk, allowing Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne to dig deep and ensure to overcome as much of the deficit from the first round as possible. A massive 8.516 in the second round threw down the gauntlet for the remaining combinations and set 7.876 as the final score to beat.  

Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne (GER) with DSP Sir Laulau - second place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Pas de Deux Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
Diana Harwardt and Peter Künne (GER) with DSP Sir Laulau – second place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Pas de Deux Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart

 “We were so grateful that we could show the whole freestyle, and the last block was good, and we couldn’t hope for more”

Peter Künne (GER)

Danish combination Freja Linde and Maria Thinggaard Sorensen went smoothly, but it wasn’t enough, and they settled for fourth, 7.641. With slight hesitations, Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller couldn’t keep Austria ahead as they were pushed into third place on 7.832.  

Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller (AUT) with Killian third place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Pas de Deux Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
Romana Hintner and Eva Nagiller (AUT) with Killian third place in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Pas de Deux Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart

As Chiara Congia and Justin van Gerven entered for their swan song they only had to be clean to take the title. In a momentary loss of balance, Justin came off the horse after a freestanding lift. Quick reactions from Chiara kept her on and reduced the points lost by the error. 

They completed the test in spectacular style but had to wait for the final scores to see if the slip had cost them the title. Fortunately, they proved too strong for their competitors and clearly won the class, with Alexandra Knauf and Max. They finished as the only pair with a final score above 8.0 (8.341).   

FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champions Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven (GER) with Max - winners in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final - Omaha 2023 - Pas de Deux Final
 
Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart
FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Champions Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven (GER) with Max – winners in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Pas de Deux Final. Image Copyright ©FEI/Richard Juilliart

“It’s always special to win a competition, then it’s a World Cup Final, that’s amazing, a new title for us we weren’t able to win that one yet, and then flying to America and to make this amazing journey is also really special.”

Justin Van Gerven (GER)

The Burlington Capital FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final has proved an incredible show of teamwork and horsemanship for all involved. The first Final out with Europe was a huge success, however, the Germans have shown they mean business and they don’t look like they’re willing to give it up any time soon.  

FULL RESULTS

Feature Image: Chiara Congia and Justin Van Gerven (GER) with Max – winners in the FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final – Omaha 2023 – Pas de Deux – FEI / Richard Juilliart

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