FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2014/15: backflip queen Lisa Wild on top

FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2014/15: backflip queen Lisa Wild on top

Nicolas Andreani (FRA), Lisa Wild (AUT), and Gera Marie Grün with Justin van Gerven (GER), celebrated magnificent victories at the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final 2014/2015 in Graz (AUT) this weekend, at the famous horse show “Fest der Pferde” in the sold-out city arena, where 14 athletes from seven countries battled it out.

The crowd in Graz celebrated the most euphoric triumph in the female competition as Lisa Wild (AUT) won her first FEI World Cup™ Vaulting Final.

Billed as the favourite for this Final after winning the Leipzig and Salzburg qualifiers, she convinced the judges with outstanding performances on Robin lunged by Nina Rossin in a gripping Final, with Switzerland’s Simone Jäiser hot on her heels and ultimately finishing second.

“As I heard the score, I knew it would be very hard to beat, but I also really didn’t want to finish second”, Wild said. As the scoreboard lit up with her final points – 9,018 – the 19-year-old student, and first vaulter to perform a full somersault on horseback at the FEI World Vaulting Championships in Le Mans (FRA) in 2012, was ecstatic.

Supported by her coach Marissa Jöbstl, and with her whole family in the crowd, she said: “I think I will only come to terms with this in the next few weeks. I will always remember this moment. I knew that it would be possible to win, but all the other vaulters are so brilliant you can never be sure.” Third place for the individual female competition was claimed by last year’s champion Anna Cavallaro (ITA), who finished on 8,631 points with Harley and lunger Nelson Vidoni.

Amazing end for French superstar

In the male competition, Nicolas Andreani, known as “Nico” to his many fans, secured a happy end to his highly impressive career. After becoming European Champion in 2009 and World Champion in 2012, he secured his third-in-a-row win of FEI World Cup™ Vaulting, the most important winter series for the world’s best vaulters.

After the first round, the 30-year-old fitness coach from Paris had to give the overnight lead to Germany’s Thomas Brüsewitz, but on the final day he proved he was the man of the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2014/15 series. After his huge point scores in the Salzburg and Paris qualifiers, he posted a massive 8,964 points with Just A Kiss and lunger Marina Joosten Dupon in Graz. For Andreani this was a very emotional win, with his “Einstein” freestyle on his last official outing – he will now focus on performing in vaulting shows.

To hit the jackpot once more was a well-deserved last highlight for an exceptionally talented vaulter. “This is the best thing that can happen for an athlete. Now it is time for the younger ones”, said Andreani after the prize-giving ceremony.

Thomas Brüsewitz, vaulting on Danny Boy and lunged by former FEI World Cup™ champion Patric Looser (SUI), finished on 8,726 points, followed by his compatriot and 19-year-old newcomer Julian Wilfling, who scored third on Luino with lunger Alexander Zebrak (8,546).

German duo

The pas-de-deux victory went to Gera Marie Grün and Justin van Gerven from Cologne-based club “Köln-Dünnwald”.

The German champions from 2013 toppled off Danny Boy lunged by Patric Looser (SUI) in the first round, but on the last day they showed a very clear and expressive performance and were rewarded by the judges with 7,872 points.

The Netherlands’ sister act Carola and Esther Sneekes on Nolan with lunger Marjo Sneekes had to admit defeat on 7,204.

Germany’s Pia Engelberty and Torben Jacobs, and Austria’s Stefanie Millinger and Evelyn Freund, were unable to compete in Graz. Patric Looser, coach of the winning German pas-de-deux, said of the triumph: “Some weeks ago, we said we’d go to Graz to win. Now as the favourites this was a totally different situation, so I'm proud of Gera and Justin and they deserve this moment after a long season.”

Looser also praised the organizer of the Fest der Pferde: “In Graz we had perfect conditions. This was fantastic, not just for the vaulters, but for our horses.”

FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2014/2015 Final – Graz (AUT) results

Male individual: 1. Nicolas Andreani (FRA), 8,964; 2. Thomas Brüsewitz (GER), 8,726; 3. Julian Wilfling (GER), 8,546;

Female individual: 1. Lisa Wild (AUT), 9,018; 2. Simone Jäuser (SUI), 9,008; 3. Anna Cavallaro (ITA), 8,631

Pas-de-deux: 1. Gera Marie Grün/Justin van Gerven (GER), 7,872; 2. Carola Sneekes/Esther Sneekes (NED), 7,204;

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