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Ryttar-OS: Allt om fälttävlan

Hinrich Romeike, Tyskland, vann OS-guld både individuellt och i lag i Hongkong 2008. Hinrich Romeike, Tyskland, vann OS-guld både individuellt och i lag i Hongkong 2008. FOTO: FEI

Från FEI:

Eventing first up as Greenwich welcomes the equestrian world
by Louise Parkes
 
With just 10 days to go to the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the hopes and dreams of equestrian athletes and their support crews are all focused on Greenwich Park, in the heart of England’s capital city.
 
It would be difficult to find a more gracious location in which to celebrate equestrian sport’s century of involvement in the Olympic movement. And the three Olympic disciplines of Eventing, Dressage and Jumping can be expected to provide 14 days of extraordinary sport.
 
Eventing leads the way, with the First Horse Inspection taking place on the same day as IOC President, Jacques Rogge, greets Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, at the entrance to the Olympic Stadium at Marshgate Lane during the London 2012 Opening Ceremony on Friday 27 July.
 
The horse inspection follows the all-important draw, which will decide the running order for the first two phases of the competition. This takes place in the presence of the Ground Jury, Denmark’s Anne Mette Binder (President), Britain’s Nick Burton and Australia’s Gillian Rolton. Germany’s Martin Plewa is Technical Delegate and will have Brazil’s Ataide Barcelos Pereira working alongside as Assistant TD. As the draw is made, blocks of individual athletes will be interspersed between team members, with the fifth athlete from each team going in the final group.  
 
DRESSAGE
 
Dressage takes place on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 July, followed by Cross-Country on Monday 30. The Dressage Test is OG CCI 4-Star Test B, Short Version.  If you want to be really clued up before the Games, you can check it out here.
 
The following morning, Tuesday 31, after the Second Horse Inspection, the team medals will be decided in the first round of Jumping. The top-25 will then qualify for the Individual final in the afternoon, again competing in reverse order of merit and with only three riders from each nation permitted to make the cut.
 
The restriction on numbers could lead to a gritty internal battle in some of the teams on that final day, as precious places in the afternoon individual decider hang in the balance. And that includes the heavyweight host-nation which boasts one of the biggest names in the sport - William Fox-Pitt, the No. 1 rider in the HSBC World Rankings and a hot contender for Olympic glory. He is joined by multiple medallist Mary King, Tina Cook who claimed Individual bronze in 2008, Nicola Wilson and Zara Phillips. The latter pair have never made it to the Olympics before, but in the case of World and European champion Phillips, that was down to last-minute unsoundness for her horse Toytown in both 2004 and 2008. It will be a momentous occasion should the 31-year-old rider take a medal in the year that her grandmother, the British monarch, marks 60 years on the English throne.
 
ELUSIVE
 
Olympic glory is elusive however. Despite their remarkable record in the sport, the British have only taken Eventing team gold on three occasions - most recently at Munich (GER) in 1972 when Richard Meade also took the individual title. That’s a 40-year gap, and one the home team is keen to bridge. Zara Phillips’ father, Mark Phillips, was on that 1972 winning side along with Mary Gordon-Watson and Bridget Parker, and the entire team went on to become highly influential in the world of equestrian sport in the years that followed.  Mark Phillips comes to London in 2012 as US Eventing team manager.
 
It is America that holds the record for most Olympic team victories, with four in total. And US riders have another statistic on their side. On the only other occasion when the Olympic Games were previously staged in London, 64 years ago in 1948, they came out on top. Perhaps this augurs well for the fortunes of the squad of William Coleman, Tiana Coudray, Boyd Martin, Karen O’Connor and Philip Dutton - the latter a double-gold Olympic medallist when competing under the Australian flag at Atlanta (USA) in 1996 and Sydney (AUS) in 2000.
 
The Germans are a formidable bunch however. Like the British, they have three team and two individual titles under their belt, and they are also the defending champions. Ingrid Klimke and Peter Thomsen were both members of the gold-medal-winning side at the Beijing Games in Hong Kong four years ago, when team-mate Hinrich Romeike put in a stunning performance to win the individual title. And this time their squad includes a man who may well be destined to lay down a major marker in Olympic history.
 
FABULOUS FORM
 
Michael Jung showed fabulous form at the HSBC FEI Classics™ in Luhmühlen (GER) last month, and if the reigning World and European champion can add Olympic gold to his extensive collection, then he will be the first rider ever to hold all three titles at the same time. He celebrates his 30th birthday on 31 July, so it will be a day to remember if he succeeds. He competes alongside Klimke, Thomsen, Sandra Auffarth and Dirk Schrade in the crack German side.
 
But the battle for the individual title looks wide open, and southern-hemisphere representatives will be a big threat. The Australian team abounds with talent in the shape of Christopher Burton, husband-and-wife Clayton and Lucinda Fredericks and Shane Rose - the latter three all members of the silver medal winning team in 2008, while four-time Olympic medallist, Andrew Hoy, will match the record set by America’s Mike Plumb for most Olympic Eventing appearances when lining out at his seventh Games.
 
And New Zealand looks so strong - Jonathan Paget, Caroline Powell, Jonelle Richards and the living legend, Mark Todd - the only former individual gold medallist in the competition - are joined by the man they are all talking about right now, 50-year-old Andrew Nicholson. The Kiwis were really impressive when filling the top three places at the pre-Olympic event at Barbury Castle in Great Britain recently. Nicholson was on fire that weekend as he swept to victory and also claimed runner-up spot. There is a sense that somehow the time is right for this popular and gifted horseman to get his chance to stand directly under the spotlight.
 
But with 13 teams, and riders from 22 nations in action there is no predicting the outcome. The Cross-Country course, designed by Sue Benson over the unusually hilly terrain in Greenwich Park, is bound to play its part, and there will, no doubt, be more than a few surprises over the four days of competition. What is guaranteed, is one of the most competitive and exciting Olympic events in the long history of a sport that tests the skill, courage and stamina of horse and rider like no other.
 
As the final countdown begins, those hopes and dreams are about to take flight.....
 
FACTS AND FIGURES - EVENTING:
22 nations
13 teams
75 competitors
Australia’s Andrew Hoy will match the record set by the USA’s Mike Plumb for most Olympic appearances in Eventing when competing at his 7th Games in London.
Hoy is a four-time Olympic medallist and will be attempting to add his fifth in London.
This will be the sixth Olympic Games for three other super-stars of the sport - New Zealand’s Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson, and Great Britain’s Mary King.
The USA holds the record for most Olympic team gold medals in Eventing - 4 in total, secured in 1932, 1948, 1976 and 1984.
Eventing at the Olympic Games is set at 4-Star level.
Teams consist of a minimum of 3 and maximum of 5 horse/rider combinations with 3 best results to count for team classification.
The Team and Individual competitions run concurrently.
Individual final Jumping test will take place after Team Jumping on same day. It is open to the top 25, including ties for 25th place, with a restriction of 3 horse/rider combinations per country.
The Cross-Country course is approximately 5,700 metres in length. The time-allowed is 10 minutes and the maximum number of jumping efforts will be between 42 and 45.
In the final Jumping phase, the fences for the first round which decides the Team medals will be up to 1.25m in height, with between 11 and 13 fences on the course.
The fences will be raised to 1.30m for the Individual Jumping Final.
One country, The Netherlands, will be represented by a team of just three riders in Eventing at London 2012.
Germany won both the Team and Individual titles at the 2008 Olympic Games and two members of that winning team are competing again in London - Ingrid Klimke and Peter Thomsen.
New Zealand's Mark Todd and Andrew Nicholson have been competing at Olympic level for 28 years. They first competed at Los Angeles (USA) in 1984.
Mark Todd is the only former Olympic champion in the field. He won individual gold at Los Angeles (USA) in 1984 and Seoul (KOR) in 1988.
 
THE OFFICIALS
 
Ground Jury President is Denmark’s Anne Mette Binder, who will work alongside Britain’s Nick Burton and Australia’s Gillian Rolton, while the Technical Delegate is Germany’s Martin Plewa, who will have Brazil’s Ataide Barcelos Pereira working alongside him in the role of Assistant TD. Course Designer is Britain’s Sue Benson, who has worked alongside the “London Eventing” team of course-builders Jonathan Clissold, Adrian Ditcham, Andrew Hunter and Scott Brickell. And she has Pierre Michelet, the Frenchman who has been appointed course designer for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 in Normandy, at her side as a Cross Country Consultant.
 
Of course no event can run smoothly without the limitless expertise of the stewards who work tirelessly, often in the background and attracting little of the gratitude they deserve. Italy’s Frances Truilzi is Overall Chief Steward for the equestrian events at London 2012, and Germany’s Jurgen Petershagen fills the role of Eventing Chief Steward.
 
THE TEAMS
 
Australia :      Christopher Burton (HP Leilani), Lucinda Fredericks (Flying Finish), Clayton Fredericks (Bendigo), Andrew Hoy (Rutherglen), Shane Rose (Taurus).
 
Belgium  :      Carl Bouckaert (Mensa), Virginie Caulier (Nepal du Sudre), Karin Donckers (Gazelle de la Brasserie), Marc Rigouts (Dunkas), Joris Van Springel (Lully des Aulnes).
 
Brazil      :       Marcio Carvalho Jorge (Josephine), Serguei Fofanoff (Barbara), Ruy Fonseca (Tom Bombadill Too), Renan Santos Guerreiro (Kenny), Marcel Tosi (Eleda All Black).
 
Canada   :      Peter Barry (Kilrodan Abbott), Hawley Bennett (Gin & Juice), Rebecca Howard (Riddle Master), Michelle Mueller (Amistad), Jessica Phoenix (Exponential).
 
France    :      Lionel Guyon (Memetis de Lalou), Aurelien Kahn (Cadiz), Denis Mesples (Oregon de la Vigne), Donatien Schauly (Ocarina du Chanois), Nicolas Touzaint (Hildago de l’Ile).
 
Great Britain:  Tina Cook (Miners Frolic), William Fox-Pitt (Lionheart), Mary King (Imperial Cavalier), Zara Phillips (High Kingdom), Nicola Wilson (Opposition Buzz).
 
Germany:       Sandra Auffarth (Opgun Louvo), Michael Jung (Sam), Ingrid Klimke (Butts Abraxxas), Dirk Schrade (King Artus), Peter Thomsen (Barny).
 
Ireland:           Aoife Clark (Master Crusoe), Mark Kyle (Coolio), Joseph Murphy (Electric Cruise), Michael Ryan (Ballylynch Adventure), Camilla Speirs (Portersize Just a Jiff).
 
Japan:            Negishi Atsuhi (Pretty Darling), Oiwa Yoshiaki (Noonday de Conde), Kenki Sato (Chippieh), Toshiyuki Tanaka (Marqui de Plescop), Takayuki Yumira (Latina).
 
Netherlands: Andrew Heffernan (Millthyme Corolla), Tim Lips (Concrex Oncarlos), Elaine Pen (Vira),  
 
New Zealand:  Andrew Nicholson (Nereo), Jonathan Paget (Clifton Promise), Caroline Powell (Lenamore), Jonelle Richards (Flintstar), Mark Todd (Campino).
 
Sweden:        Linda Algotsson (La Fair), Sara Algotsson Ostholt (Wega), Niklas Lindback (Mister Pooh), Malin Petersen (Sofarsogood), Ludvig Svennerstal (Shamwari).
 
USA    :           William Coleman (Twizzel), Tiana Coudray (Ringwood Magister), Philip Dutton (Mystery Whisper), Boyd Martin (Otis Barbotiere), Karen O’Connor (Mr Medicott).
 
THE NATIONS
 
Australia, Austria, Belgium, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of South Africa, Russia, Sweden, Thailand and United States of America.
 
THE FULL LIST OF RIDERS:  All the horse/rider combinations are listed here
 
FEI OLYMPIC HUB: For further information visit the FEI Olympic Hub which is dedicated to all things Olympic and Paralympic, both old and new - http://fei.org/olympic


Från FEI 2:
America’s Boyd Martin gets London 2012 Equestrian Events Underway by Louise Parkes

It’s been a long four-year wait, and the tension has been building steadily all week, but Greenwich Park will burst into action at 10.00 tomorrow morning when Eventing gets the London 2012 Olympic equestrian events underway with America’s Boyd Martin first into the dressage arena.

The first horse inspection had it’s moments of drama this morning, with four horses sent to the Holding Box for further assessment.  And there was an audible intake of breath when Great Britain’s Zara Phillips was asked to trot her horse, High Kingdom, before the Ground Jury for a second time.  But Ground Jury President, Anne-Mette Binder (DEN), Nick Burton (GBR) and Gillian Rolton (AUS) passed all 74 horses in the final analysis, and with 12 full teams of five riders battling it out for the medals, along with a three-strong side from The Netherlands and 11 individuals, the next four days promise an Olympic feast of sparkling sport.

CROSS-COUNTRY

The riders have known for some considerable time that the cross-country challenge across Greenwich Park would be particularly demanding, and course designer, Great Britain’s Sue Benson, guided a large group of media around it today.  As she strode purposefully ahead there was a fair bit of huffing and puffing in the ranks, but widespread agreement that, after five years of painstaking attention to detail, she has a produced a masterpiece.  The undulations, steep rises and falls of the parkland have not been tamed, but embraced, to create a 28-fence track, with 39 jumping efforts and three stopping points, that will test them all and draw the cream to the very top. And all without interfering in any way with the site which will be returned to its original state as soon as the Games are over.

It’s been a huge job for the former European Eventing team champion who has been designing cross-country courses for “almost 20 years”.  And as Sue said herself today “it’s been a lot of building for six hours of sport!”.

Respect for the park, which is the oldest in London, has been key to her every move, but that has not affected the scale of the test that horses and riders will face next Monday.  With an optimum time of 10 minutes 3 seconds she doesn’t expect that “more than two” will return without time penalties - “but of course I could be wrong about that” she admitted this afternoon.  And she added, “my dream is to get everyone around”.  With one time penalty awarded for every four seconds over that optimum time, pace will be critical. 

LESS THAN THREE WEEKS

It’s less than three weeks since the fences were brought into the park.  In appallingly wet weather conditions it took two JCBs with low-profile tyres and skilled drivers to put them in place without doing any damage.  “At one stage we had 14 builders, and that was sometimes reduced to 8 or 10 - on cross-country day there will be a 25-strong course repair crew at the ready” Sue pointed out today. 

By the time horses reach the 1.45m high and almost 2.00m wide Royal Herb Garden hedge oxer at fence four they will be on the gallop, and the questions come up at a relentless rate all the way around the track.  One of the most spectacular obstacles is The Moon, built at the top of a steep downhill run with a sensational view across the London skyline.  But the riders won’t be doing any sightseeing there because it is swiftly followed by The River Bank, possibly the most charming of Benson’s creations with its wild flowers growing around the edge of a little lake busily populated by characters from the children’s book “The Wind in the Willows”.  The quintessentially English theme of the track is at its finest here, with Moley and Ratty fishing on one side while Mr Toad picnics on the far bank under his sunshade.  For the riders, The River Bank will be all about getting back the control they may have lost on the steep downhill run in order to tackle the three-element obstacle. 

Wide tables with maximum stretch, and super-tight corners demanding absolute accuracy, are all included, but the biggest thriller may well be the awesome drop at Royal Greenwich Borough, Fence 20, which, if over-ridden, will make it very difficult indeed to tackle the skinny Village Flower Troughs that follow.  The children of Greenwich produced the montage in the background of this fence.

The Flower Garden at fence 22 includes 40 hanging baskets in full bloom, and the Rose Garden at fence 24 is staggering in its beauty, although the direct line across the corner of the hedge here is a massive test so late on the track.  It all finishes up over The Olympic Horses, an enormous horse-shoe with hedge inserted, guarded by two horses in take-off mode at each side which have been created by joining together hundreds of horse-shoes.  Imagination and flair have taken flight all around this spectacular track.  New Zealand’s Caroline Powell, who will partner the oldest horse throughout the Eventing competition - the 20 year old Irish-bred and much-loved Lenamore - said today “the fences are beautifully built and all the hills will sort out the horses’ and riders’ fitness.  The ground is as good as anywhere - it’s superb!”

SPOTLIGHT ON DRESSAGE

For tomorrow however the spotlight is on the dressage arena where the first 37 riders will begin their Olympic adventure.  Great Britain’s Nicola Wilson (Opposition Buzz) and Mary King (Imperial Cavalier) are amongst the first-day runners along with American veteran Karen O’Connor (Mr Medicott), Peter Thomsen (Barny) and Dirk Schrade (King Artus) for Germany and a host of other hopefuls intending to get their countries off to the perfect start. 

Powell, and her Kiwi team-mate Andrew Nicholson will take their turn on Sunday.  There was a nice moment today when the latter, a hot favourite to take the individual title, stood in front of his horse, Nereo, pulling the gelding’s ears and talking to him quietly after passing the horse inspection.  It was a moment of shared understanding marking a relationship forged in the fire of a super-tough sport.

Meanwhile two other equestrian athletes play a big role in tonight’s London 2012 Opening Ceremony - World No. 1 Jumping rider Rolf-Goran Bengtsson will carry the Swedish flag while 2004 Olympic champion, Rodrigo Pessoa, is  flag bearer for the Brazilian team.  
 
Facts and Figures:

All horses passed the first horse inspection this morning.
4 horses were sent to the Holding Box, but all were subsequently passed.
The Ground Jury for Eventing is : President, Anne-Mette Binder (DEN), Nick Burton (GBR) and Gillian Rolton (AUS). 
Technical Delegate is Martin Plewa (GER), Assistant Technical Delegate is Ataide Pereira (BRA).
Also on hand for today's inspection were Veterinary Commission President Paul Farrington (GBR), Foreign Veterinary Delegate Kent Allen (USA), and associates Willie Hanbuecken (GER), and Tim Randle (GBR).
A total of 74 horse-and-rider combinations will compete in the dressage phase which begins tomorrow morning (28 July) at 10.00.
12 teams of 5 riders will compete - USA, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Canada, Belgium, Japan, Brazil, Great Britain, Sweden and New Zealand.
1 team consists of just 3 riders - The Netherlands.
The oldest horse in eventing at London 2012 - the 20 year old Irish-bred gelding Lenamore, ridden by New Zealand's Caroline Powell.
The youngest horses are all 9 year olds - there are 5 of them : Rutherglen (Andre Hoy, Australia), Dunkas (Marc Rigouts, Belgium), and Millthyme Corolla (Andrew Heffernan, The Netherlands), Borough Pennyz (Vittoria Panizzon, Italy),  and Josephine (Marcio Carvalho Jorge, Brazil).
First into the Dressage arena tomorrow morning is America's Boyd Martin with Otis Barbotiere.

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