It’s an Olympian’s worst night-mare.
A world champion German pentathlete burst into tears during an equestrian event at the Tokyo Olympics Friday when her stubborn horse refused to jump, dramatic footage shows.
Annika Schleu, 31, of Germany was in first place when the horse she was assigned, Saint Boy, appeared to become spooked and resisted even entering the arena.
With some coaxing, the animal eventually cleared four sets of hurdles then wouldn’t jump over the fifth — prompting the devastated athlete to begin sobbing.
“Annika Schleu is having an absolute real-life nightmare right now,” a sportscaster can be heard saying in one clip of the event.
Schleu scored zero points for failing to complete the horse jumping competition and ultimately finished in 31st out of 36 after the remaining events, which included cross-country running and pistol shooting.
“I tried but he did not want to go. I just started crying,” Schleu said. “I did not expect to make him go and that was the reason I was crying … I felt the horse lacked confidence. But I tried my best.”
Pentathlon riders are given randomly assigned horses for the event and bonding with them quickly is considered part of the challenge.
Before the equestrian mishap, Schleu had been ranked number one after competing in the pentathlon’s fencing and swimming events.
Schleu was later criticized for online using a whip in an attempt to get the horse to hoof it over the jumps.
”Did y’all see how that annika schleu absolutely dropped thirty spots down the modern pentathlon…? deserved for hitting the poor horse like that,” one critic wrote on twitter.
Another added, “Either take the show jumping out of the pentathlon, let the athletes have their own horses, or give them more time with the animal at the start.”
In 2012, Schleu won the gold medal at the pentathlon World Championships.
With Post wires