Tuesday, 7 August 2012

When history happens in front of your eyes there is little to be said

photo courtesy of Kit Houghton

When history happens in front of your eyes there is little to be said. What a result for equestrian sport in Great Britain. I say equestrian sport not just Showjumping as we must all pull together as one sport to benefit from the mood of euphoria that yesterday spread out across the country from Greenwich.

People often say that I do not smile very much after medal winning performances... There is truth in this observation..... For me "post victory" is a very challenging time. The athletes and their connections are understandably ecstatic and rational thought is not always a high priority for them. There is also, especially at an Olympics, a complex, full and frequently changing programme of ceremonies and media commitments: Alongside this, families, owners and riders want to start the process of celebrating. Put all of this together and you have a recipe for things getting missed, people being in the wrong place in the wrong form of dress or photos/ comments giving the wrong impression. Be in no doubt, deep down I was so proud of what was achieved yesterday.....it was very much one of the highlights of my time as Performance Director.

The media commitments post a medal are extensive.... Compete - Mixed Zone - Medal Ceremony - Mixed Zone - Press Conference - Team photos....... And then a chance to relax....maybe.....or it could be up to the main Olympic Park for seemingly never ending round of interviews and appearances. It is a fine balance between giving the riders the opportunity to enjoy the recognition of their achievements and not asking them to do so much that they become tired and it starts to impact on the next competition (in the case of the Jumping / Dressage where the Individual competition follows the Team). There is a real hierarchy within the Mixed Zone so broadcast get first bite of the cherry followed by written media....... Perhaps a shame that the written media who support equestrian throughout the year (the highs and lows) are at the end of the line-up.

As with Eventing the riders finally made it to the International Teams' Tent where they could meet up with their friends, family and owners. What an atmosphere...cheering, hugging and the raising of a glass of fizz. British Eventing very kindly supported the Eventing celebration and the British Equestrian Federation the jumping celebration.

So finally I crawled in to bed.....and was able to reflect on a day that will stand out in the history of equestrian in this country. 

The Equestrian Team GB parade at Olympia, The London International Horse Show, is going to be some party....I hope we can make it even more special by the end of today..... Yup, it is the dressage Team final today........fingers crossed......

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