Friday, August 8, 2008

Hello and welcome from day 3!! I have just come back from our opening ceremony, parade of athletes, and am now back in the hotel watching the parade of teams in
Beijing!! How cool is that? Our opening night here was super..lots of theatrics, lion dances, and lots of color and fanfare. The Honk Kong Jockey Club, who owns all of the Olympic equestrian sites, hosted us tonight, and it was wonderful. Good music, lots of food and drink, which we needed - more in a minute - and great international comraderie. In fact, what is so neat about the Games, is that wherever you go, you hear at least 3 languages being spoken. We are all here because of the horses, and here in HK, where only the equestrian events are being held, it is a HUGE thing for everyone. The Chinese workers are all so helpful, full of national pride , and are so pleasant. We have loads of high school and college age students working in many of the venue operations, and they cannot be more pleasant and full of assistance. It is so nice to be nice...and it really shows here at Shatin.

Anyway, back to the competition. Cross country rehearsal this am was a poured with rain for at least 2 hrs, which caused us to delay. We finally got things rolling, just to get all the volunteers done - they had been out in the pouring rain for over 4 hrs! Radio systems failed, we had to regroup more than once, and finally called it off after about 2 hrs. This happened last year too, at the test event, but when we did the actual competition, things went really well. I am sure the team will do a fine job! What with all the rain we had, over 2 inches just this am, the water jumps were about 2-3 feet deep! Regulation is 18" max!! Water was pouring off the course so fast the drains couldn't handle was a sight to see. The officials decided that if we have the same amount of rain on Monday (the actual cross country day) we will have to delay until it is safe to go. Wise move....many of the riders are , in fact, poor swimmers, and the rescue teams do not have enough power boats to cover the whole course!!

Back to TV you think those poor Chinese girls are going to run out of dance before all the athletes come into the stadium? Cool thing with the opening of the scroll...

Well the horse inspection was not without drama....most horses were sharp, looked great, full of energy , and were presented fine. The US horses all looked good, even when they asked Phillip to re-jog (what for?)...Connaught was fine. Two horses were NOT accepted, one from Brazil (lame) and one from Chile. The Chilean horse would not even trot down the lane, no kidding,..the rider had to drag him down the lane. The horse looked awful (I mean sick), did not even walk well, and when the rider borrowed a small whip (to jazz up the horse a bit) the horse backed up scared, looked terrible and was really an embarrassment. The judges did not even ask him to re-jog (it was that bad). How this horse even got qualified to be in the Olympics is beyond all of us. We have never, ever , seen such a situation. Good thing we have these checks and balances from the officials to be able to prevent any further embarrasment, or worse, injury. We all hope this horse can get some medication to help him feel better - he was not right at all.

Next was William Fox-Pitt (the #1 British rider) being sent to the holding box for re-examination. Yes! Well he came back about 15 min later, whereupon the judges had a long chat with him, and then he did not re jog , but turned and walked away! The whole crowd were stunned...had the top British rider just been eliminated? The horse was perfectly fine in the trot up...what was happening? My co announcer was asked to say " Parkmore Ed is accepted, and the hold was not due to lameness or the way the horse moved." What did that mean? Well, turns out, the horse has a pronounced stomach ulcer that bulges out around the girth area...the vets have been aware of it since the horse arrived, and they, along with the judges just wanted to verify that this would not prohibit the horse from performing at his peak. For those of you not in the know, the horse had a type of bruise under his belly that had swelled up - thus causing a large bump under his stomach..Not painful or damaging to him at all....well when the horse was accepted, the whole British team, audience, and officials sighed a huge relief! Drama at the Games, let me tell you!!

Well tomorrow we start the competition...6:30Am....yes that is correct, ...1st competitor (2 time gold medalist Mark Todd, New Zealand) in the arena at 6:30 AM!! Our call time is 5:30......dressage under the lights at 6:30!!! We have a morning session till about 10, then a second session tomorrow night from 7-11pm. Each team will have two riders in the morning, one at night, and two on Sunday morning. Equal for all. The US team order is: Amy, Gina, Becky, Karen (did you know she is my sister-in-law, the double gold medalist from the Pan Am Games - you know I HAVE TO SAY THAT),and Phillip as the anchor. Good line up I'd say - Amy leading the way, and Phillip being the "sweeper"! The timetable was not available to me so you can go on line to find out the ride times.....

Finally, some promised photos of the cross country jumps, me in the control booth, and assorted pics so far. Check out the details on MES's course - the dragons are beyond beautiful... See y'all tomorrow,

Brian O3


At Friday, August 8, 2008 at 8:53:00 PM EDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So wonderful to hear your voice for the first horses in dressage - and a HOOT to hear you announce the mascots during the second break.

Cyndi Kurth


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