Monday, 16 July 2012

Day One in the British Equestrian Camp, London

Four years passes all too quickly. Memories of arriving (for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games) in Hong Kong (it was raining) remain fresh in my mind; today I arrived in London (it was not raining....honestly..) for the London 2012 Olympic Games. It is, after all, another Games, another Olympics, another competition – albeit under the auspices of the IOC, not just the FEI. If I am truthful, yes, another competition but one that has not been out of my mind since 6th July 2005. So, cutting to the mustard, the next few weeks are a journeys end.

I can also recall leaving a lunch the day before I flew to Lexington for the 2010 World Equestrian Games; the departing morale booster from a fairly senior member of one of the Disciplines was “I hope it goes well out there as there are plenty of people back here with their knives out for you if it does not”.......that was....different!

Sentimental rubbish over. Well this is my third Olympics (I am a newcomer in comparison to many within equestrian) do not believe it is my third? Well please see proof.....I have three Olympic wash bags...photographic evidence....

Team GB Washbags from Athens, Beijing and London Games

I guess you are thinking ...why is he in London so early..the equestrian Venue does not open until 22nd July...he must be keen. Well there is method in my madness. The Olympic Village opens tomorrow (Monday 16th July) and as all know....the special edition watches sell out very quickly! Oh yes, the other reason is that the eventing athletes are visiting the Village tomorrow and the eventing grooms on Tuesday. This will allow them to validate their accreditation and get a feel for the Village.

Validating accreditation? At an Olympics you get your accreditation card in advance but it is not valid until it has been “activated” in the each accreditation card has a barcode and if not “activated”, then when your barcode is scanned at the entrance to a Venue, the red lights start flashing and a big hand descends from the clouds and removes you to the sin bin.

So let’s take a step back. The weather has not been kind to us this year and that has impacted on our plans...we started the year on Plan A; I think we are now on Plan YY. Regardless of what the weather has thrown at us, the clock kept ticking. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Selectors who have put their heart and soul in to the process of making selection decisions: It is all too easy to look in and criticise; whether that be the decisions made or the timeframe within which the decisions must be made. Timeframes might not always be ideal for us, the equestrian team, but we are a small cog in a big wheel that is the British Olympic Association. My heart goes out to those that missed out but perhaps even more so to a certain superstar that suffered the pain and disappointment of being selected only for her horse to do what horses can do and go lame. Piggy French has been and will be again, a cornerstone of the GBR eventing team.

I am unpacked....Team GB kit hanging on a rail, ready for action...

Team GB Kit ready...
From my room I can see the stands (for the equestrian events) rising above the trees...I can see, in the distance, one section of the main Olympic Stadium; forget the critics, ignore the cynics, wrap your chips with the negative articles in the newspapers....the greatest show on earth is about to arrive in London and it is going to be great sport, nail biting finishes, highs, lows, euphoria, disappointment but most of all, it is going to be an opportunity to celebrate equestrian sport in the heart of our capital City. Bring it on....Team GB is ready to stand tall.


  1. Thanks for the blog Will - I really enjoy your insights from behind the scenes! It seems no time since you were blogging from Kentucky.
    Welcome to Greenwich - I live down the road and have been watching with anticipation as the various structures go up in the park. Please do bring us lots of pics of all the activity!

  2. Great start to a great blog, can't wait for more updates as the games continue :)