TINA Cook will return to Findon a hero proudly wearing another medal around her neck after leading Team GB to silver at the London 2012 Olympics.
The 41-year-old was the last team member to ride in the third and final team discipline of show jumping on Tuesday and a classy clear run secured them second place
Cook punched the air with delight and the packed Greenwich Park crowd erupted after she cleared the final jump upon faithful mount Minors Frolic with just one time penalty
Despite the Beijing double-bronze medallist being well placed in the individual medal positions after the team silver was secured, her final run of the day saw her fall just short with eight faults and she slipped out of the medal positions to finish fifth.
But the disappointment of missing out on a double medal would have been short-lived when she and the rest of the team, of which Nicola Wilson, Mary King, Zara Philips and William Fox-Pitt made up the quintet, received their silver medals from The Princess Royal in the middle of the Greenwich Park arena.
It was an age away from her first event on Sunday, when, having already had a terrible year in which she almost lost Minors Frolic to life-threatening disease colitis and the death of her father Josh Gifford, it looked as though things had conspired against her again as rain, thunder and lightning lashed down during her dressage event.
But she defied the odds again just like her horse had done last year, coming through the elements strongly and things kept on improving for the Findon eventer, right up to Tuesday afternoon as she clinched the team silver with her ride.
Cook even had the attending royals in raptures. Prince William, wife Kate, along with Prince Harry, Prince Charles and wife Camilla were all in attendance to cheer on Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Phillips.
It was defending champions and favourites Germany that sealed gold, while New Zealand finished with the bronze medal a place behind GB.
Cook said: “Oh my goodness, it was so close. Gold would have been brilliant but silver is absolutely fantastic.
“Henry [Miners Frolic] was very ill last year and it’s been almost like a fairy-tale. The team result is brilliant for equestrianism and it’s great for the sport.”