She fenced. She swam. She took a horse she'd only just met over a 15-fence obstacle course. And then she shot and ran.
But after a full Sunday competing in the modern pentathlon at the Summer Games here, Suzanne Stettinius of Parkton finished 28th out of 36 riders.
The gold medalist was Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania, who finished with 5,408 points, a modern pentathlon Olympic record. Silver went to Great Britain's Samantha Murray, whose performance set the temporary stands at Greenwich Park rocking with enthusiastic fans, and bronze was won by Brazil's Yane Marques.
Just missing a medal was the other U.S. competitor, Margaux Isaksen, of Fayetteville, Ark., who finished with 5,332 points, eight fewer than the bronze medalist.
The pentathlon, which spanned more than 10 hours and three venues, closed out the Olympics, at least the competitive part. A couple hours after medals were awarded, the Closing Ceremony would begin.
The lead changed after each event as competitors engaged in sports that they were better or worse at than others, or dealt with such inevitabilities as recalcitrant horses —some of whom stopped in front of fences and simply refused to jump. Sometimes, riders fell from the horses, and then had to chase them as they ran away.
Stettinius, 24, a graduate of McDaniel College, was 32nd after fencing, having won 11 epee matches and losing 24. She dropped a place after swimming 200 meters in 2:22.29 minutes.
Another competitor, Sarolta Kovacs, of Hungary, set a new Olympic record for the swim portion in the modern pentathlon, finishing in 2:08.11. But, in a testament to the vagaries of the pentathlon, in the next event, horse jumping, her ride was terminated before she could finish after a mistake. She finished 33rd overall.
Stettinius, who lives on a horse farm just below the Pennsylvania boarder and has competed as a steeplechase jockey, had the 20th best score in the riding event. But, despite riding swiftly through the course, her horse, Skinners Zed, knocked down four rails, which deducted points from her score. She was 29th going into the combined run-and-shoot competition, where she was able to move up a notch in the final standings.
The riding, running and shooting events were held in Greenwich Park, London's oldest royal park, dating back to 1433 and offering sweeping views of St. Paul's Cathedral and the newer Canary Wharf financial district. To add to local flavor, the fences on the riding course were decorated with references to British icons, from Stonehenge to Abbey Road.
Twitter.com/jean_marbellaCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun