To the soundtrack from the French musical, Les Miserables, Joanne put in a stunning performance on board W H Bently for a score of 8.888 which gave her a combined two day score of 8.619 – enough to take the lead at this midway point of the competition. Joanne chose this music this year with Normandy in mind, “I struggled this year to find music that we thought looked good,” she said, “but this just fits perfectly with the competition being in France and I could be emotional with it.”
Joanne had one small moment of imbalance coming out of her freestanding arabesque at the end of her test, “It felt fantastic, I had one little wobble but other than that I am really happy,” Joanne said of her round, “my foot just wasn’t quite in the right place and my shoulder were a little far forward so I had to balance it out but it was a small mistake.”
Overnight leader, Danish vaulter Rikke Laumann slipped into second behind Joanne with a combined two day score of 8.544 on Ghost Alfarvad Z. Although her test was visibly lacking any leaps, her arabesque and handstand work was so strong and accurately performed that she obtained a score of 8.652. “I was happy with that,” she said of her performance, “my horse lost a step at the end which meant I missed two moves but the rest I was satisfied with.” Rikke quit her office job last year and since January has just been focusing on vaulting. “I now just do vaulting clinics, and am the trainer to the Danish vaulting team.” The theme of Rikke’s freestyle was Ice, “It is a play between cold and warm trying to take over, but very much ice,” she said.
In third place after her Freestyle performance is Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser with her Chinese theme running through from her costume and music to her movements on her horse Luk and she displayed immense strength to perform a backwards facing bench hold into a handstand dismount at the end of her test, “it felt great running in to the arena,” she said, “I had one little mistake in my jump but after that it was great and the horse was very calm for me.”
The top 15 individual women vaulters now go through to the technical test tomorrow before contesting their second fFreestyle performance in the finals tomorrow, Friday September 5th. For a list of the full results from the Women’s individual Freestyle Test and their combined two day scores, CLICK HERE.