Blog #24: Hot night in the city…

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Harrie Smoulders and his irrepressible Emerald

I’m sitting in the apartment past nine o’clock at night and am still very hot. It’s been another scorching day, and the heat isn’t letting up now, even though it is well into the evening.

Full media tribunes today
Full media tribunes today

The show jumpers were competing in this intense heat; it was well above 30 degrees today with quite a bit of humidity. Not much of a breeze in the press tribunes at all, and even worse in the mixed zone where the sauna-like conditions continue. The press tribunes and the stands were packed today; the jumpers are definitely the rock stars of the Olympic equestrian events. While there were a few seats in the stands still available, it was definitely a full house at the equestrian media centre, and as a result our normal very reliable wifi went a bit awol.

In fact, this wasn’t a bad thing. In order to file my story, I headed back to the Village as soon as I could once the medal ceremony and press conference had finished. I’m usually one of the last to leave, but not today. We have good wifi on the buses, and good wifi at the village so there really isn’t the need to stay too long at the media centre. Except it takes you that precious time to pack up and travel there… but today it worked out well as I was on a mission to get away to see the hockey. Normally, filing the story comes first but when you can’t get on the website because of the poor wifi, the obvious option was to head “home.” I was even looking forward to a cold-ish shower!

The showers here are variable, from warm to cold. Today I was hoping for a just-off-cold one, as I really had worked up a sweat at the jumping. In fact I have really worked up a sweat typing this and I think my laptop is definitely overheating. Today was one of those days where it just seemed oppressively hot. The riders were not the only ones going up and down; as a journalist who takes photos and goes to the mixed zone as well there are a lot of ups and downs for me, too. 10,000 steps achieved easily today (and I have found my fitbit charger so I am under way again). So, that results in a hot journalist. Who was looking forward to a cool shower. But, Murphy’s law, the shower was one of the hottest I have had since being here. I even had to turn on the cold tap for a while.

Harrie Smolders on Emerald always celebrates with exuberance
A mighty crash between the hockey girls! That’s a dangerous sport, two went off for medical treatment

The hockey was interesting, but unfortunately, the Kiwi girls lost 3-zip to Great Britain. And no, I didn’t see Richie [McCaw] there but I’m sure he was. But even better, I did briefly catch up with Clarke Johnstone who was attending his first hockey match. He’s really getting into the Kiwi Olympic experience. There were a good number of NZ supporters there cheering the women on, but it wasn’t to be. Now they have to play off for the bronze medal. It’s on Friday so I can’t go and see that, as that’s the last round of show jumping.

I was impressed by the army of volunteers in their yellow uniforms changing the course for the jump today
I was impressed by the army of volunteers in their yellow uniforms changing the course for the jump today

I’ve been trying to work out who is my favourite to take out the individual medal. My old favourite Nick Skelton doesn’t seem to be in top form at this show. I’m mighty impressed with Daniel Deusser and Steve Guerdat, but then there are the two Americans, Kent and McLain, who have a lovely soft style of riding which has a lot of appeal. Meredith’s horse is amazing, and then there is Zipper from the Ukraine who has an outside chance. And then there is…. see? I could go on and on. I don’t know who will win, there are so many who are in with a chance, and that’s what makes it so exciting!

But before the last day of equestrian competition, we have a free day. I’m planning on going to see the canoeing, and cheering Lisa Carrington on. And the weather forecast is for late 20s so hopefully I won’t melt out there! Go Lisa!