This blog is a bit later than normal as I didn’t get up at my usual 4am to write it. I needed a couple more hours’ sleep as we went to a party last night! You may think this is no big deal, but to us, having been at Deodoro Accommodation Village (DAV) for the last 17 days, it was nice to escape and wear our party frocks.
We had been invited to an “informal gathering” (aka party) at the NZOC’s New Zealand house – thanks to Di Dobson for getting us on the list.
It was Helen Christie’s last night in DAV (and indeed in Rio) and she’d been working really hard as a steward (lately in the “Boot and Shute” team at the jumping) so I got the invite extended to include her and off we went. It was a bit of a race to get the work done after the first show jumping but it was on the bus and into the main transport hub, on another bus to get to Copacabana Beach, and then in a taxi to get to our final destination at Leblon. An hour late, but we made it!
It was nice to go somewhere new, and meet people. I caught up with a couple of old friends, and met Rob Waddell (he’s huge) and Kereyn Smith, the Chief Executive of the NZ Olympic Committee. Di was there, buzzing, as she had been press attache for Lisa Carrington who had won a gold medal that day. She was also bragging about her new accommodation which had hot showers, driers, and a swimming pool! But it isn’t ten minutes down the road from the equestrian venue so isn’t much use to us.
It was also great to hear that Sam Meech had won a bronze medal. I had the pleasure of meeting this fine young man, as he sat near me on the plane, and was one of the group that had their bags go missing when the bags didn’t make the connection at Buenos Aires. And no, he is not related to the equestrian Meech family! Well done Sam, and good luck to his sister Molly who still has a bit more competition to go but is looking good for a medal too. How proud will their family be!
The show jumping yesterday was great, mostly. It was marred, for me, by an unexpected display of poor sportsmanship from an Australian. Check out our article on yesterday’s competition to read more about that, but I really thought Scott Keach’s behaviour was abhorrent. The Germans look very polished, and I’m picking they will be hard to beat, but if the Brazilians keep going the way they are, the crowds will bring the stands down if they win a medal today!
Media are invited out to walk the course before the event; there are some riders still out there walking their courses and we are under strict instructions that this isn’t an interview opportunity. I love being able to walk the course, you see how huge those fences are and how difficult those lines are. Today’s course is supposed to be even bigger and harder than previous ones, so I am looking forward to walking that. While we are not allowed to interview the riders, we are allowed to photograph them, so how could I resist taking a picture of the likes of Steve Guerdat (who really is a handsome fellow) and some of the other famous ones there, including Nick Skelton?
I had a good catch-up with Andrew Bennie and Tim Downes; Andrew will be on his way home by now, and will have a couple of weeks there, then heads back here to coach para competitors from Hong Kong. Rather him than me; I’m starting to think about heading home soon, as there are only two days’ equestrian competition left for me.
Tonight I’m planning on getting down to the hockey to watch the New Zealand women in the semi-finals. Go the Kiwis! But first we have the team competition to watch, and the medal ceremony. What a huge day to look forward to. Go the Brazilians!