After a day like today, it’s hard to know where to begin. But I guess I’ll stick with the tried and true method and start at the beginning.
The beginning of today was actually last night, as I ended last night so far past exhausted that I forgot to set my alarm for the first time since college. This fail resulted in Colby knocking on my door at what felt like an ungodly early hour announcing, “Jim’s on his way for O.F.F.” (Jim would be James Wolf, USEF”s Director of Sport Programs and O.F.F. would be Operation Foam Finger. Yes this is the Olympics and yes this is real life.)
So up I was and off we went, spreading foam-finger-related love far and wide throughout the Olympic venue. We went through the boxes of fingers so fast even USEF fix-it man, Dougie, who has been to 11 Olympics (!!) had never seen anything like it. People are so hot for them we’re considering shipping the last of the foam fingers we’ve got left back in Plymouth over here!
Once foam finger mania died down, it was time to get back to what really matters – the rides. Tina got Team USA started off brilliantly. She was clearly not nervous at all, which she assured us she wouldn’t be during yesterday’s USEF Network interview. I guess when your mother is a circus performer known as the “queen of the high wire,” it takes a bit to get your nerves up. Tina was followed by Adrienne and Steffen for the US, and they all performed beautifully, with Steffen bringing the top US score.
Team USA Dressage rider Adrienne Lyle
Team USA and Team SmartPak rider, Steffen Peters and Team USA Dressage vet, Dr. Mitchell (left) with Tony the Pony.
The most notable ride of the day, however, came from Great Britain’s Charlotte Dujardin, who put up an Olympic record 83.663 aboard Valegro. The fact that this young woman has only been riding at the Grand Prix level for 18 months makes that score nearly beyond belief. But I’ve got to tell you, watching it with my own eyes – she really was tremendous.
It rained again, hard, but this being London, that’s starting to feel really non-newsworthy. The rain didn’t effect any of today’s rides, unlike yesterday (catch up with Colby’s View from the Stands for the full download on Marcus’ elimination).
After the competition wrapped today, Colby and I hustled back to the house to catch up on some things back at the office, before helping prep the USEF/USET house we’re staying at for a Team USA reception. The party was hosted by our friends at Adequan, and was held in honor of the Team USA dressage and show jumping riders, owners and support staff.
Team USA Dressage riders at the party.
John Long, CEO of USEF at party.
Before (and during) the party, we managed to shoot today’s USEF Network recap, and I highly encourage you to check it out, as we were not only able to get dressage recaps from Tina, Adrienne and Steffen; we were able to get a sneak peak at the show jumping team, chatting with Reed, Rich, Mclain and Beezie, along with the big man himself, Mr. George Morris.
Team USA Show Jumping riders.
Team USA show jumping riders hanging out.
As with any good party, after the party was the after party, during which I chatted with the team vets for the dressage and show jumping teams, along with the team doctor (for people) for the entire Team USA equestrian competition. There’s so much great stuff from those conversations alone, I don’t want to limit it to a line item in a one-day recap, but you can expect more to come on that front, for sure. So stay tuned!