Thursday, August 21, 2008

Canada and Sweden and USA!!!


The show jumping world was introduced to the very first CANADIAN medalist in equestrian competition…Eric Lamaze and Hickstead topped the world in a gold medal jump off, after 5 days of competition, and 5 rounds, plus the jump off , of excellent horsemanship and craftsmanship. He put in superb rounds throughout and deserved the gold. He came into the individual round with "0", went clear in the first and second rounds, and then went clear and fast in the jump off. This wonderful stallion , who has been jumping so superbly all year, especially down in Florida, is truly a superstar. Eric gave him tremendous rounds all week, and in the end only had one rail down, in 6 trips! It is awesome. Molsens all around… may know that CN is a major sponsor of show jumping in North America, well, it now takes on a new mantra.....CANADA NAILS-IT! Please pardon the grammar!

Our own Bezzie Madden and McLain Ward put in super rounds too, to get into a 12 horse jump off for the bronze….(I think I have the correct number)…anyway, the jump off for the bronze was tough and full of speed and power. Meredith and Shutterfly(GER) put in a super fast clear round with a time of 35.37,,she sped around the final turn, to a big oxer, and then galloped into the last vertical wall, and cleared it faster than anyone else. Rodrigo Pessoa(BRA), was going fast and clear , and then one down cost him 4, but he was just outside the time. McLain and Sapphire came in next, and blistered their way around, including jumping a decorative brush/tree area (not on course) which shortened their turn into the next jump. The crowd went wild when this short cut actually gave him almost 2 seconds up on Meredith, but a little too fast into the last wall, and they hit quite hard and took down about three levels of the top and rider were perfectly fine, but 4 faults and just .02 out of the lead. Then Beezie came in, jumped a fantastic round, short cut included, and beat the time in 35.25. Artistry, power, and superb coordination, put Beezie and Authentic onto the bronze medal podium. Team USA finished the 2008 Olympics with a silver individual (Gina Miles) in eventing, a gold team (show jumping) and Beezie with the individual bronze in show jumping. The grand master himself, George Morris, our commander in chief for the jumping team was beaming! His leadership has been monumental, and so helpful to a team of some of the best show jumpers we have ever fielded. No offense to our wonderful 1984 Gold medal team from LA-----it has just been that long since we have had such a wonderful and positive experience watching our superstars. They really earned these medals. So final results: Eric –gold, (Can)…Rolf-Goran Bengtsson silver (SWE), and Beezie Madden,bronze (USA)

HOWEVER….the day was not without controversy…….we got to the competition arena, to find out there was an immediate press conference due to start. Apparently, four horses came up positive in drug testing and were being disqualified. One was from Germany, one from Brazil, one from Ireland, and one from Norway. All came up positive for the substance, Capsaicin, which is a compound made from chili peppers, which when applied to a horse's front legs, causes heat(pain) and also acts as a pain reliever. This substance has been banned all year (red flag from the Federation – i.e. we will be looking for this…) but these individuals were caught with positive results from tests. Here in HK, where there is one of the three TOP medical labs for equestrian drug testing in the world, one would assume that you would not try to break the rules. Now there is the test on the "b”"(second samples) still to be verified……but, one German and one Irish horse, both countries who were penalized and stripped of their medals four years ago, came up positive AGAIN. And the Norwegian horse who came up positive will probably cost Norway their first EVER medal in equestrian sports (bronze jumping). WHAT WERE THEY THINKING???? All of this will be dealt with in the coming weeks, but still, a bit of a black cloud on the jumping discipline, especially after the fiasco of 2004, when 2 medals, team and individual golds, were both stripped of their winners because of banned drugs.

Now , the is the OPINION section: I am going to jump into big water here, but I don’t care…..people can say what they think....just like I am about to do:

What makes a team member or coach or vet or whoever, think they can get away with this? Do you not think that you are under a very big microscope here? And by your actions (GERMANY and IRELAND) you have been busted TWICE now…..should they be allowed to continue doing this without harsher penalties? They are putting a big stain on the rest of the clean, and hardworking athletes, horses, owner, officials, volunteers, and participants…it is not fair to allow this to continue. Yes, there is a price...but after two times… should be much more severe. It really shows how poor "sportsmanship" and "horsemanship" really are presented to the world…especially to our young riders, pony clubbers, and up and coming equestrians…is cheating the only way to get medals? NO…just look at Gina, Beezie, Ashley, McLain, Amy, Anky, Steffan, etc. Don't let theses busted riders spoil the day…they don't deserve it. Now, if their "b" samples come up clean, and they are vindicated, I will write another apologetic response…but till that time,…."what the h… were you thinking?"

OK, almost done….another bum idiot almost ruined the day. Just as we started the jump off, a man jumped over the fence, onto the field and took off his shirt to advertise some stupid .com site…he had a tutu on and "cantered" around the course, while the first rider was waiting for the bell to start. Unfortunately, the security staff did not jump to action, and after almost 30 seconds or so, some of the stewards started to jump the fence and tried to get this moron. I was running down the stairs trying to call the police onto the course, but they were afraid to break some sort of protocol. The crowd laughed a bit…but I only wish us Americans, who didn't get the chance, had gotten to the SOB….we wanted to tackle this guy so bad and pound him into the sand! He also looked like a fat was awful, embarrassing to the Chinese, and bad for the competiton. Luckily the cameras did not show him on the jumbotron…. They finally escorted him off..too bad we couldn't catch up with him and have a further "discussion" (and I am NOT a violent person, as you all know....)

Well, enough for tonight…..2:30 and going strong. We are under a typhoon warning again…scheduled for tomorrow morning…very strong winds and heavy rain is due..we think that all the poor people who are scheduled out tomorrow will be delayed and may not be able to travel…that will be a pity if all of this is true. The warning will be raised soon, if it gets upon us. Funny, we started the Games with a typhoon two weeks ago, and will now end it with one too. When these storms hit, the whole area shuts down, and people just wait it out. More tomorrow from our "hideout"!!

Be good,

Brian – Olympic announcer of the Games of the 29th Olympiad, Beijing 2008


At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 5:09:00 PM EDT , Blogger Cookie said...

Thank goodness you are back. I missed my daily dose of Hong Kong news yesterday.
How right you are about the situation with the chilli stuff. Don't those people care about their animals.........they should be banned for a long time this time. How stupid are they. apparently that stuff has only been detectable in the last year according to our papers, thank goodness they can find it now and hopefully no more horses will have to suffer. Perhaps the culprits should have it plastered on them and see how they like it.
Skipped through your summary of the jumping as I am about to watch the replay on TV.
Keep out of the rain and I hope the storm isn't too bad.
Thanks again for all the news.

At Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 8:12:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Brian. Thank you for your efforts. I wholeheartedly agree with your opinions and think that you have expressed our collective thoughts so well on many subjects. I am sad to see the end of the games, but am so encouraged by the way the USA has represented itself. You have brought the spirit of the USA equestrian community to the Olympics. JOB WELL DONE. See you at Devon? a mc

At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 9:38:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Brian,


Because of you, this is has been the most exciting and fun Olympics to watch and read about. I hope you get to do this again in 4 years. How can I find out what competitions you'll be blogging about in the future?

BRAVO, Brian. Job well done!

Please give our best to your family and your brother's family. We love you all, and we miss the pony too.

Take care!

Valerie from Maryland

At Friday, August 22, 2008 at 11:19:00 AM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian, yours has been my favorite blog for the Olympics. Thanks so much for the news, opinions, insights and chance to laugh. I feel addicted. I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to tackle the guy in the tutu...but those things can get messy...maybe better without the physical contact! Keep up the blogging, it is a good gig.
Anne from Will Simpson's home town

At Saturday, August 23, 2008 at 5:16:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog. Great showjumping and great eventing. Still not sure how a silver medal was awarded to a dressage combination that stopped and...well you know the story.

Just a couple of corrections: Eric is the 1st Individual GOLD medalist for Canada (Michel Vaillancourt won the silver in 1976; Ian Millar was at his 9th Olympics, had 1980 not being boycotted (btw - Canada won the team class at the Alternate competition in Rotterdam), he would have been on his 10th team( 1972 on Shoeman; 1976 on Countdown; 1984, 88, 92 on Big Ben; 1996 on Play It Again, 2000 on Dorincord, 2004 on Promise Me, 2008 on In Style).

A very proud Canadian.


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