Modern pentathlete Annika Schleu has defended herself against equine cruelty claims aft wrenching scenes astatine the Tokyo Olympics.
Schleu went from archetypal to last successful the lawsuit acknowledgment to a disastrous outing successful the amusement jumping discipline. Due to a bizarre regularisation of modern pentathlon, she was not riding her ain horse, but an carnal she'd met conscionable 20 minutes earlier.
The equine - a gelding called Saint Boy - refused to leap and Schelu was near successful tears, her Olympics ruined. She reacted by striking the equine vigorously with her harvest and spurs, sparking outrage.
She denied that she had acted with cruelty towards the animal, calling the backlash "shocking".
"The hatred I encountered connected societal media has masked the disappointment astir the missed medal," she told Germany's Die Zeit newspaper.
"I did not dainty the equine highly harshly. I had a harvest with maine that was checked beforehand. Exactly similar the spurs. I americium truly not alert of immoderate cruelty to animals.
"I started crying comparatively quickly. I was truthful tense due to the fact that I realised that the contention could beryllium implicit earlier I adjacent started riding. The seconds that passed past felt overmuch longer to me. It was a hopeless, hard concern for the equine and for me."
Some of the disapproval was high-profile, including from Big Bang Theory prima Kaley Cuoco; who is joined to an equestrian and rides herself. She slammed Schleu and offered to bargain the unfortunate horse.
"I consciousness it's my work and bosom to remark connected this disgrace," Cuoco wrote connected Instagram. "This is not Olympic amusement jumping. This is simply a disgusting, classless, abusive practice of our athletics successful truthful galore ways. This squad should beryllium ashamed of themselves.
"You and your squad did not bash your state arrogant oregon this sport. You marque america look bad. Shame connected you and godspeed to immoderate carnal that comes successful interaction with you.
"Pure classless behaviour close here. Disgusting connected each levels. This is not our sport. This does not correspond our sport.
"This rider and her 'trainer' are a disgrace. I'll bargain that equine outright and amusement it the beingness it should have. Name your price."
Schleu, who placed 4th astatine Rio 2016, admitted that she could person "reacted a small much calmly" successful the concern but insisted that she did not merit specified heated criticism.
"Of people it does thing to me. It doesn't consciousness nice. I did not expect this terrible appraisal from the outside," she said.
"I'm astir acceptable to accidental that it is much important to maine to header with it mentally than to make sponsors. I don't privation to person to exposure myself to this hatred."
"Once you've experienced thing similar me, it's precise hard to retrieve from it."
A German coach, Kim Raisner, besides proved to beryllium a villain during the equestrian meltdown.
Heard telling Schleu to deed the equine harder, she besides leant implicit the obstruction and punched Saint Boy. She was suspended for the remainder of the Games.
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