Since there are still a few days before competition begins, I’ll take the opportunity to focus on the venue and the Athletes’ Village.
Deodoro – Centro Olímpico de Hipismo
Today, it’s all about the Deodoro venue.
All of the Olympic venues are organized into zones: Barra, Copacabana, Maracana and Deodoro. Equestrian falls into the Deodoro zone, located just northwest of the city. The area is a busy suburb, bordering Vila Militar and Vila Eugénia, and is home to Brazil´s largest military barracks, over 60,000 servicemen and women.
In the map above, you can see the Deodoro Zone at the top. If you look straight down, that is where the Olympic Village is (where our Eventing and Dressage athletes are staying). And if you look to the right of Deodoro, you’ll see the Maracanã Zone with the famous Maracanã stadium one of the green icons below – home to where the Opening Ceremonies will be held!
The equestrian venue itself is actually a military compound, so no shortage of a military presence!
Sports being held in the Deodoro zone include modern pentathlon, shooting, rugby sevens
mountain bike & BMX and whitewater rafting. Thе Deodoro Park іѕ thе ѕесоnd largest concentration оf competition venues аt Rio 2016.
This equestrian venue is the same that was used for the 2007 Pan American Games, but has had significant re-building done.
The main stadium has remained essentially the same, with the exception of the footing having been re-done.
The Main Arena
Although there are multiple warm-up rings, including an indoor arena, all the horses & riders will be given time in Main Competition Arena. These are known as “familiarization sessions”. As we get closer to the actual competition date, the organizers will set up the rings for competition including the judges’ booths, dressage rings, flowers etc. Countries will then sign up to a schedule in order to for their athletes to have their allotted training time.
This is the perfect opportunity for the riders and horses and to get a feel for how things will look on their actual competition day – without the cheering crowds of course! But even without the fans, it does give everyone an excellent opportunity to more accurately visualize how they will approach things on the day.
And typically the biggest point of interest is the electronic board – which is historically one of the more popular topics at Team Leader / Chef d’equipe meetings…. ensuring that the organizers will have it operating in the same way as they will on competition day, so that horses (and riders) get used to it.
Always the busiest place at a Major Games, these stables are all newly built. While it’s great that they are all facing outwards, meaning airflow will not be an issue, most countries will devise a system to prevent the sun from hitting the stalls full force.
Because getting to and from the venue is an adventure in itself (the journey, going through security etc.), you can’t easily “pop in” and “pop back”. So it’s also important to fit out an area for quiet time for the riders – somewhere they can go to collect their thoughts, relax and generally take a break from all the activity. This is even more crucial as competition gets into full swing.
The same is true for the horses, and most teams will have worked out a pre-determined schedule to ensure that there is lots of “downtime” for the horses to relax. This typically includes scheduling “visiting hours” for Owners, Family and visiting officials from the National Federation and the country’s Olympic Committee. Remember what I said about the importance of a routine and controlling the things you can control, while not stressing about the things outside of your control? This falls perfectly into the “controllable” category.
Hope you come back for tomorrow’s edition…the Olympic Village!