By Caroline Stauffer
RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - France came from behind to win the show jumping competition on Wednesday for its first team gold since 1976, after the four teams that had started the day in a tie for the lead withdrew riders or knocked rails down.
Germany, Brazil, the Netherlands and the United States were level going into the final round of the team competition in Deodoro park, while France started the day with two time faults from the previous round of jumping.
However, its riders left all the rails up to take gold on a tough course, despite scoring time penalties.
The United States got silver after Olympic veteran Beezie Madden withdrew due to an injured horse, meaning the United States lost the benefit of being able to drop its lowest score of four riders. Lucy Davis had a rail down for four faults on Wednesday in her Olympic debut.
Germany and Canada will jump off for the bronze medal while home-team favorites Brazil finished in fifth.
It has been a strong showing in equestrian competitions for the French, who also won the team eventing competition last week.
Wednesday also served as a third qualifier for the individual medal round on Friday.
(Reporting by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Jan Harvey and Ken Ferris)