The German athlete and equestrian Annika Schleu was an absolute favorite for winning the gold medal in the pentathlon.
Unfortunately, not all odds were in her favor during the event earlier today.
An Unpleasant Surprise
The talented Annika had a strong chance of winning a gold medal in the women's modern pentathlon.
She dominated in her previous games with spotless results. Annika got on top of all lists in fencing 200m freestyle swimming.
It seemed like we already know the winner in this category, but some unexpected twists changed everything.
The Horse-Riding Part Of The Pentathlon
The audience surely loves the horse-riding part of this Olympic discipline.
And as an experienced equestrian herself, Annika had an intention to aim for nothing less than a perfect result.
However, her plans collided with her performance. And it wasn't her fault at all.
An interesting detail of the horse-riding part in the Olympics is that all contestants get their horse randomly, around 20 minutes before their game starts. This means that contestants are not able nor allowed to choose which horse they will compete with.
Moreover, it turned out that sometimes there could be issues regarding the connection that the player and the horse could make. And Annika experienced something very similar.
A horse named Saint Boy was assigned to Annika.
At first, everything seemed to go well. But Annika felt that something is going wrong between her and the horse.
The same horse did something similar to Gulnaz Gubaydullina. Saint Boy didn't listen when she gave him a command to jump. And just like that, Gulnaz was left with zero points in her score.
The Horse Refused To Cooperate With Annika Schleu
The 31-year-old Annika Schleu is a five-time world champion in this area. She finished in fourth place when she competed in Rio 2016.
But this time, when she needed a moment to shine with her skills, her horse kind of ruined her opportunity.
They had a tough beginning. At first, the horse refused to start going. Then, during his desperate attempts to jump, he knocked down some of the fences in front of him.
The commentators were criticizing Annika's game, using some harsh words:
"Well, this is devastating to watch. Annika Schleu is not able to get Saint Boy to move into the arena. She is looking devastated."
In the following moments, Saint Boy didn't want to jump at all. Annika was on edge with her patience. The panic had won the battle, and she started crying while she rode the raging horse around the arena, trying to calm him down.
While she was angry at herself for the unfortunate turn of events, the commentators were still discussing Annika's game:
"It's all falling apart for Annika Schleu. I think she's starting to lose the composure. It looked like she might have recovered it, and now this is really, really sad to watch… the German coaches just watching – watching these points disappear, watching the German dream disappear."
Indeed, the dream of the gold medal vaporized within minutes.
A Competitor's Worst Nightmare
The worst nightmare not only for Annika but of every competitor out there turned into reality.
She walked into the arena with high hopes because she had the talent and the potential, but sometimes we don't have the power to change how things will elevate in a certain situation.
Her face said more than enough, and commentators were explaining the situation once again:
"She is having an absolute real-life nightmare right now. I think she realizes all hopes are over and she has lost her concentration and lost her chance at an Olympic title. This is hard to watch. It's hard to commentate on, to be honest… her face says it all. The crowd doesn't really know how to react."
Further Reactions On Social Media
Many people sympathized with Annika. On the other side, there was some bold criticism about her reaction. She constantly hit the horse out of rage.
People were writing comments that the horse didn't care for her gold medal at all.
A person expressed their opinion:
"Did y'all see how that Annika Schleu absolutely dropped thirty spots down the modern pentathlon…? Deserved for hitting the poor horse like that."
Comments like this one started multiplying in an instant:
"Disgusting scenes in the pentathlon riding, Annika Schleu was behaving like such a spoilt child. She should never be allowed around a horse again. That whipping was beyond cruel."
Getting that far and missing the opportunity of winning the gold medal in the Olympics surely is frustrating. But we're not sure if animals deserve to get punished like this.
Some things go beyond our power. And in situations like this, rage and fury often obscure our minds, so we do things that we might regret later.