Vaulting

Kristina Boe’s Vaulting Career Comes to an Abrupt Halt (But She’s Okay with It)

©FEI/Martin Dokoupil

Germany’s Kristina Boe is widely regarded as the queen of vaulting.

Double world champion. Europe champion. World Cup champion. She has won every possible title in individual vaulting.

Last week, Boe leaped atop a cantering horse for the last time in the Grand Manège of the Ecole Nationale d’Equitation at the Cadre Noir de Saumur, France—host of the 2019 FEI Vaulting World Cup™ Final.

As defending champion, Boe likely dreamed of ending her highly decorated career with the hero’s send off of a final championship title and the rapturous applause of the 1500 deep crowd.

Her horse, however, had other plans.

Second on the provisional ranking after the first round of the Final, Boe needed a perfect performance in Saturday’s Freestyle to have any hope of reclaiming the title. She was on her way to achieving that goal when seconds before their final canter circle, her horse Highlander came to an early halt. And thus ended Boe’s otherwise flawless routine and final podium bid.

“I think my horse decided to retire a couple of strikes before me,” smiled the German.

Alas, Boe’s misfortune was compatriot Janika Derks gain.

Leading after the first round, Derks climbed to the top of the podium for the first time in her career with a Rocky-inspired freestyle—a bit, you might say, like when the underdog boxer defeated Apollo Creed in Rocky II and was declared World Heavyweight Champion. But with less blood.

We’d show you the pivotal moment when Boe’s career came a sudden stop but it’s an unspoken rule of equestrian sporting events to never publish competition lowlights so that footage isn’t available. Despite its obvious interest to the fans. Sigh.

Here’s the winning freestyle instead.

Switzerland’s Marina Mohar took second and Nadja Bütiker third.