I don't even think she knew she had rails down," remarks USA's Laura Kraut with a laugh, thinking back through her eight-fault round on her big grey mare, Zeremonie, in yesterday's second show jumping competition at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon, North Carolina.
"...we just got unlucky. She did a great job, I can't be disappointed in her."
The round may knock her out of the running as an individual, but Team USA is tight-knit, and Laura is quickly shifting her focus to a very real possibility: team gold. Although she can't participate in the team's ritual ping pong tournament at their shared house, due to an ankle injury ("I'm way too competitive! I'm afraid I'd hurt myself playing ping pong and that's just not a good idea"), Laura is honing in on the ways she can support her team: namely, laying down a clear round in today's competition. While that may not carry the weight and pressure of ping-pong, it's still important (I guess).
"I won't change one thing for [today]," she says. "She'll still get her banana before we go, and we'll just do what we always do...I don't think she or I were lacking concentration, we just got unlucky. She did a great job, I can't be disappointed in her."
"I need a do-over! [I'm channeling] Tonya Harding."
One thing that's surprisingly working in the pair's favor? That good ol' North Carolina summer heat. "She has loads of energy, which is what Robert [Chef d'Equipe Robert Ridland] was worried about when we first arrived," she says of the 11-year-old Holsteiner mare. "I mean honestly, I think she could've gone back in and jumped another round."
Hey – golf, like show jumping, is heavily rooted in tradition – and they've unofficially embraced the concept of the mulligan. Maybe we should have let Laura have another go at the monster of a course? "I need a do-over!" she laughs. "[I'm channeling] Tonya Harding."
All jokes aside, Laura is, as always, a team player. She's disappointed in how her performance affected the team score, but with the USA sitting comfortably near the top, today is a new day – and she's ready to lay down the round she knows she can. "I'm ready to get back out there, and hopefully get ourselves a medal."
Photos by Sportfot.