An unscripted glimpse at the Canadian Equestrian Team's athletes, supporters & fans before, during and after major games. #CanadaStrong

Archive for July, 2016

Field of Dreams

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.

Rio2016-Maps-Venues

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.

Rio2016-Maps-EquestrianVenue2

The main stadium has remained essentially the same, with the exception of the footing having been re-done.

Ariel-Stadium
http://www.rio2016.com

Stadium

 

 

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.

The Stables

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.

Stables_Canada

 

 

 

 

Stables_Nigh

Hope you come back for tomorrow’s edition…the Olympic Village!

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It’s Rio Time!

Hard to believe it was only 4 years ago when everyone flocked to London, England for the Olympics.

Athletes – both human and equine – are already landing on the shores of Rio de Janeiro to take part in history of the first Olympics ever to be held in South America.

The Opening Ceremonies will be held Friday August 5th at the famous Maracanã stadium. This is the same location where the 2007 Pan American Games opening ceremonies were held, and I can’t tell you what a memorable experience that was walking in the parade of nations. The roar of the crowd was like nothing I had ever heard before, and the sheer immenseness of the stadium was jaw-dropping. Our athletes who have the opportunity to experience this are going to carry that memory and feeling with them for a lifetime!

Our Canadian Eventers have now all safely landed in Rio with their horses, and will be settling in and familiarizing themselves with their surroundings so they can quickly get into a routine.

Our Dressage athletes will be hopping on a plane Monday so they can get to Rio ahead of their horses who are flying out of JFK, New York on Tuesday.

And you thought YOU packed a lot when you’re traveling!

 

Rebecca Howard and Riddle Master

2016-07-30-JPhoenix
Jessica Phoenix & her supergroom Sandra Andresen – Facebook

 

Olympic Athletes Village

The Eventing and Dressage athletes will be sharing an apartment in the Olympic Village, while their grooms will be staying at the venue in new Grooms Village accommodation that was specifically built for these Games. No more UN containers like the 2007 Pan Ams!

Of course anyone who has been to an Olympics knows that the word “routine” takes on a new meaning in a Games environment. Where you can walk one day may be blocked the next. You may breeze through the “mag and bag” (similar to airport security where your bags are checked & screened) today, and tomorrow be subjected to extremely thorough checks and screening.

So it’s always important to have a “go with the flow” attitude, and not get too hung up on the variables you can’t control.

The Canadian Olympic Committee always do a fabulous job in inserting lots of “Canadianism” into the Village, and making you feel very welcome.

Guess who just moved into the Athletes' Village 😁 // Devinez qui vient d'emménager au Village des athlètes 😁

A post shared by Canadian Olympic Team (@teamcanada) on

Can you spot Team Canada’s building?

2016-07-30-Village-Canada

Canadian Swag

And how cool is the Canadian swag for these Games? Maybe not quite as psychedelic for the 2008 Bejing Games (few things could be!), but gotta love the hard case suitcase.

Outfitting complete! Guess which country I am from? #teamcanada #leegoestorio #iamcanadian #mediumeverything

A post shared by Lee Parkhill (@leeparkhill) on

Deodoro Venue

The equestrian events are again being held at the Deodoro military compound, which is roughly 40 minutes from Rio itself. Thankfully the promised new highway has been finished and is operational, making transport far more direct from the Athlete Village to the venue.

The stabling is all new, and Canada finds themselves neighbours with the USA again – as we do quite often at Major Games. Although staunch competitors once inside the field of play, many of the athletes and support personnel from both countries are great friends so it makes for some fun times.

2016-07-30-DeodoroStables

Jessica Phoenix & A Little Romance

 

Competition

While typically it’s Dressage who kick things off, these Games will be different in the sense that it is Eventing who is first on the schedule. Their Horse Inspection will take place August 5th, with the dressage competition taking place August 6th-7th followed by cross-country on the 8th and the final showjumping and medal ceremonies on the 9th.

Dressage doesn’t start until August 10th with the Grand Prix, so Belinda Trussell and Megan Lane will have plenty of time to fit in sightseeing.

Where the magic will happen…..

What it’s all about

And this is what all the hard work, sacrifice, pain, sweat, tears is about….

 

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