Today I had a conference call with the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC), discussing our cargo plans in getting our team horses and equipment to London and back again. And of course, the ever important negotiation of funding!
Huge props to the COC who are always terrific to work with, and really do everything they can to help our athletes and support teams taking part in the Olympic and Pan American Games.
It’s a huge job coordinating the efforts of the entire Canadian Team, across all sports, and an even bigger job trying to make Accreditations work so that the teams have the support they need for optimal performance at the Games.
The IOC’s formula when handing out Accreditations to National Olympic Committees is based on the formula of 1 support team Accred per competing athlete.
That formula works well when dealing with sports like soccer or waterpolo (where you can have upwards of 12-15 competing athletes).
It’s not so good for Equestrian once you factor in the team coach, chef d’equipe, team vet and grooms!!
While major games like the Olympics and Pan American Games really raise your patriotism, and makes you feel VERY proud to wear and represent the maple leaf, it also makes you realize the level of importance the Canadian government places on amateur sport compared to other countries.
Don’t get me wrong, I am absolutely thrilled with the tremendous strides that have been made over the past few years with the financial support from the Canadian government and also with initiatives from Own the Podium…..that has played a SIGNIFICANT role in the success of our athletes. We’re just still lagging behind other comparable developed countries and I hope that the momentum keeps building. Without sustained financial support, it’s next to impossible for our disciplines to continue the programs they have built let alone improve upon them. And without continued & growing programs, our success at the international level will be more down to luck & circumstances rather than based on a solid foundation offering opportunities to as many athletes as possible. Just take a look at this recent post by 2010 WEG Silver Medalist mom Trish Bosch on the finances required to pursue your athletic dreams on the international stage.
Ok, enough on that. I could keep talking for quite a while on that topic! Instead I’ll leave you with this fun video. After the latest “Borat/Kazakhstan” anthem gaffe that happened recently, it would be hilarious if this song was played instead of Oh, Canada. 🙂
Diane Creech and Devon L
Ok – I’m making a commitment to post at least once a week here leading up to the Games, and during the Games I will be making daily posts. If I make the commitment in writing, then I’m making myself accountable! 🙂
Lots of activity happening during the past few weeks, but in terms of organizing and also with our declared athletes.
I’ll focus this post on our Dressage Team.
The CDI 3* Loxhatchee-International Horse Sport Champions Cup was held March 22-25 in West Palm Beach, Florida (full results here), and a number of Canadian Olympic dressage hopefuls where showing off their finest in front of the judges.
Big congrats to Diane Creech and Devon L (owned by Doug Leatherdale)!
Diane scored her 4th Olympic qualifying score and now sits in 3rd place in the leaderboard standings (behind Ashley Holzer & Pop Art, and Jaqueline Brooks & D Niro).
Diane was also just named the Dressage Canada Red Scarf Equestrian Athlete of the Month for February thanks to her consistent scores with Devon L and Hallmark (also owned by Doug Leatherdale)
The next big competition takes place this weekend at the Global Dressage Festival 5* in Wellington, Florida.
Watch for David Marcus, Joni Lynn Peters, Gary Vander Ploeg, Evi Strasser, Jaqueline Brooks, Victoria Winter and Ashley Holzer – hopefully I haven’t missed anyone!
Also on deck this weekend is the CDI3* Festival of the Horse taking place in California.
I know we have some Canadian athletes competing here as well, but sadly the website doesn’t provide class lists or day sheets, so I’m not sure who will be there.
Good luck to everyone in their competitive pursuits this weekend!
Taking a look at the entry list for this weekend’s Wellington Dressage Classic CDI3* shows there will be a LOT of maple leafs riding up the centre line looking to get qualifying scores.
In no particular order:
Evi Strasser & Action Tyme
Shannon Dueck & Ayscha
Joni Lynn Peters & Travolta
Ashley Holzer & Breaking Dawn
Tom Dvorak & Corrigan
Victoria Winter & Proton
Ute Busse & Lindor’s Finest
Gary Vander Ploeg & Cezanne
Jacqueline Brooks & D Niro
David Marcus & Chrevi’s Capital
Nancy Maclachlan & Deniros Tyme
Ashley Holzer & Pop Art
David Marcus & Don Kontes
It will be the first time that Ashley puts Pop Art & Breaking Dawn in head to head competition, so it should be interesting to see how the judges directly compare the 2 horses.
2 of the judges this weekend (Evi Eisenhardt and Gary Rockwell) will also be part of the Olympic judging panel this summer.
The leaderboard as of March 12th has Ashley & Pop Art and Jacquie & D Niro as the only 2 combinations with 4 qualifying scores….but that will likely change to be 3 combinations if Breaking Dawn keeps up his string of terrific scores.
Good luck to everyone this weekend!
Check out the Global Dressage Festival website for results
Although my role as Team Leader is for the Olympic Games, I do want to give a shout out & support our fiercely competition Paralympic athletes who are also taking the opportunity over the winter months to hone their skills in preparation for the 2012 Paralympics.
There are a number of Canadian Para athletes who can be found in the dressage ring this weekend at the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida, and many were in the show ring today.
Multiple Olympic medallist Lauren Barwick and Equine Canada’s Off to Paris rode to victory with a 75.833% (Grade II Team), with Ashley Gowanlock and Maille not far behind with 72.045% (Grade 1B). Also competing was Jody Schloss (70.588% in Grade 1A) and Robyn Andrews (68.088% Grade 1A).
If you recognized the name of Ashley’s horse, that’s because it is the one & only Gold & Silver Paralympic horse of Lauren.
Lauren very graciously gave the ride to Ashley to help her in her Paralympic dream pursuits.
Talk about being a team player!
Canada qualified a team spot for the 2012 Paralympics by putting in some stellar performances at the CPEDI3* in Portugal last December.
Their strong performances (winning 8 out of 9 classes and taking the Team Gold by a sizeable margin)
Watch out London!
Chris Pratt & Cruise
I don’t know what would be more exciting…. winning a Grand Prix over a competitive field of 43 and having a pay-day of $60,000… or being surrounded by Lamborghinis!
Not only did Chris Pratt & Cruise win the Grand Prix, but fellow Canadian John Pearce & Chianto (part of the 2010 WEG Team) was just over a 1/2 s. away to take 2nd place honours and Jill Henselwood & George (part of the 2011 Pan American Games team) claimed 4th.
Click here for the full story
Even more impressive is that Chris & Cruise won the previou weekend in the $25,000 SmartPak Grand Prix.
All 3 are declared for the 2012 Olympic Showjumping team (full declaration list here).
Between the results of riders doing the California circuit, and those who are based in Wellington doing the Florida circuit, it makes for some exciting showjumping action!