As well as all the many fans watching their television sets in the small hours of the morning, there were plenty of fans actually at the cross-country venue in Rio.
The Governor General, Sir Jerry Mataparae, and his wife Lady Janine were there and watched Sir Mark Todd go through the water jump. They said they were really enjoying the event.
There were the two boys from Nelson, Kieran and Jacob, relishing seeing their heroes go around. The boys go to Waimea Pony Club. Kieran rides a chestnut pony called Whisper and at this stage of his career, enjoys doing dressage.
The riders appreciated the cheers and call-outs they received as they tore up the course. Sir Mark said he “heard lots of Kiwi cheering and I actually saw Clarke’s parents on my way round.” We asked him if he had seen the Governor-General at fence 4 (the first water jump). “No, I didn’t see him, I was too busy scrambling back into the saddle!”
Clarke Johnstone said he normally doesn’t hear the crowd. “Usually on these big tracks people say to you, ‘Did you hear me cheering at such and such?’, and I’m always like, ‘No’. But today I heard so many Kiwis around the course yelling “Go Clarke” and “Go Ritchie” and that sort of thing. I didn’t see anyone though.”
Tim heard the big cheer after he went through the first water. “It was a huge cheer, it was great. It gave me that spur on and a bit of confidence.”
Jonelle also heard the cheers. “Coming up to number 17, I heard someone say, ‘Go Jonelle,’ but I don’t know who it was. If that person would like to identify themselves, then I can return the greetings!”
So, well done for all the Kiwis cheering on the sidelines today. We look forward to seeing you all back again tomorrow to see them through the show jumping.