Blog # 22: Oooh and aahing over showjumping

Jane's back in her element, watching horses jump. And loving it!

Some great showjumping today
Some great showjumping today

Showjumping was the only show in town for me today and what a day it was. I can’t believe how fast the day went.

There’s normally time to whip up and down the steps to the mixed zone to interview favoured riders and back in time to see the next lot. There’s also normally time to catch up with things during the morning and afternoon breaks and the lunch break.

Today’s showjumping had only two breaks for about five minutes to groom the arena. Not even a lunch break. As the rounds only took a few minutes, the riders flowed through the mixed zone at a jump-off speed. It was also the hottest day I have experienced in Rio so by the time the last rider had jumped the rails and run the media gauntlet I was a sweaty, tired mess! But also very exhilarated, having seen some of the best jumpers in the world doing all sorts of things, from falling off, to balking, knocking rails and wowing with clear rounds.

I interviewed Nick Skelton again, first time in many years. Lovely man that he is, and what a brilliant horse. He still has a broad accent (to me) and together with a mumbling quiet approach, was bloody hard to hear, especially as the crowd was very vocal and loving showing their appreciation for some great riding.

Looks far better in real life than in this photo. The blue seats to the right above Steve Guerdat's head are the press tribunes where I sit to watch the competition.
Looks far better in real life than in this photo. The blue seats to the right above Steve Guerdat’s head are the press tribunes where I sit to watch the competition.

And then there was Steve Gerdaut, the Swiss rider going after his second gold. What an impressive bloke. So impressive I had to write a separate article all about him! But if I had to be choosing a team to support since we had no kiwis in, it would be the Brazilians. They did really well today but the crowd support was phenomenal. I’m sure the effects of the noise they made when their riders were in the arena was one of the reasons why I couldn’t hear Nick Skelton very well. Temporary deafness.

Some of them probably haven’t been to a showjumping competition before, going on the times they clapped and cheered but the Brazilian boys loved it. The place was just humming and it lifted their riders to a new level. If they can keep this up, we should be very glad there is no roof on the arena as it will be lifted by the noise. But in the meantime, the many spectators in the non-shaded part (which is more than half) will be feeling the effects of all that sun and heat today.

Not quite sure what these little fellows are but they like biscuits and bread and have a high pitched squawk
Not quite sure what these little fellows are but they like biscuits and bread and have a high pitched squawk

On the way to the bus this morning I also finally discovered the much-talked about little monkey rat things that live in the bit of scrubby bush. Apparently they have been doing quite well out of all the unwanted bread people have been giving them on their way to the buses. Quite cute really.

And in other news, I seem to have lost my Fitbit charger so am not clocking up how many steps I am doing each day. You’ll just have to believe me that it has been heaps and heaps lately! There’s 40 steps to get down to the mixed zone, and back up to the tribunes again, and I must do that at least 20 times a day..

It was fun to hear what the other journalists and photographers got up to on their day off. Most of them seemed to focus on getting a good meal. Talking of meals, it’s just down to Libby and I in the apartment now and we have quite a bit of food to get through before we leave in six days time but we are making headway. You’ll also be pleased to know there is still one bottle of wine left in the fridge. Just as well as the shop has no white wine left and tomorrow’s temperature for the individual medal competition for dressage is predicted to be 33 degrees!