LONDON - Jamaica's lone equestrian competitor at the Olympic Games only made it to London 2012 with a little help from an illustrious compatriot, Usain Bolt. The fastest man in the world stepped in to help raise money for Samantha Albert to line up for the eventing discipline at Greenwich Park with a horse loaned to her by British team member Tina Cook. Sprint superstar Bolt, the reigning Olympic 100m and 200m champion, donated three shirts and two signed books for a raffle Albert staged in her local pub in Highclere, Hampshire, southern England. Top flat jockey Frankie Dettori also helped her cause, offering up four dinners at one of his London restaurants during the raffle staged at a special Jamaican evening at her local. The auction raised over £6,000 and, with a further donation from the Jamaican Olympic Association, Albert was duly able to take her place in the first stage of the eventing competition, the dressage, here on Saturday. "Usain Bolt was very helpful," she told AFP after her turn in the Greenwich Park arena on Carraig Dubh. "I met him again at a party at the Olympic Village," she added. The 41-year-old, who is retiring after the Games, says of her striking grey 12-year-old horse "he's a lovely pet in the stable but a bit of a wildfire outside. "I am getting old now, so he is good for me. He wakes me up and encourages me to go that little bit faster." Unfortunately the pair failed to seduce the judges and were 12th out of 14 after the early session with a score of 67.20. "It's way off my target, but I've only done three international tests on him, I'm proud to have done it and glad it's over. "I'll go for everything now in the cross-country, I've got nothing to lose." She reported that Carraig Dubh had become unnerved by a sudden noise just before he entered the ring. "Someone dropped a big metal fence behind us and he tried to whip round. He was fine before that but it frightened him and he just flipped.
Slick Brits shock China: Defending champions China were sensationally eclipsed by hosts Great Britain as the Olympic men's artistic gymnastics qualifying competition began here on Saturday. Dominant in front of their own fans in Beijing four years ago, China's men were below par at the North Greenwich Arena and finished with a score of 269.985 points to Britain's 272.420. France produced the third-best display of the first qualifying session, with two sessions to follow later on Saturday. China were exceptionally poor on the pommel horse, with Guo Weiyang and Zhang Chenglong both falling, while Zou Kai failed to convince.