Lauren Shannon’s blog: at the Games with the Olympic Ambition Programme

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Hi everyone,

I hope you have all been following the Olympics with the same bated breath that I have.

I was lucky enough to travel down to the Games with the Olympic Ambition Programme beside fellow event riders Gemma Tattersall and Willa Newton. We watched the first morning of dressage, which meant seeing Nicola Wilson compete with Opposition Buzz. The noise in the main arena at Greenwich was unreal when Nicola finished, especially compared to the utter silence during her test!

We unfortunately couldn’t stay at Greenwich for the afternoon session, but only because we had the opportunity to go around the Olympic Village and eat in their massive dining hall. The village was unreal, it had a post office (where you could have stamps made with your own face on them!), salon, games room and the odd person walking around just offering you ice cream. I’m sure not all the athletes felt the need to utilise this, but we definitely did.

We then had a great talk with skaters Jayne Torvil and Christopher Dean about how their lives were affected by Olympic preparation and success.

The next morning we had the opportunity to see a game of handball in the Copper Box stadium before rushing back to Greenwich to see Tina Cook and William Fox-Pitt’s tests. It was a shame we had to miss Mary King and Zara Phillips’ but it was worth it.

On Monday we headed to the Team GB House, which is the centre of corporate hospitality and a place where you can meet family and friends as an athlete if they don’t have accreditation. Again, it was great to see another aspect of the Games that we as spectators don’t usually get access to and brilliant to know that the athletes connections are taken care of.

Once more we rushed across to Greenwich to catch the afternoon’s cross-country. I couldn’t believe how many people were there and how different the course looked with so many bodies around! It was amazing to be there as I don’t think a cross-country course like that will ever be replicated. It didn’t look like the kind of track you came off thinking it was a walk in the park (excuse the pun) as those twists and turns as well as the hills made for some tough riding.

Our riders did make it look as close to easy as is possible though, and I have now completely lost my voice from yelling all day! It was then time to get a train home as despite the Olympics, life goes on.

The Olympic Ambition Programme was a great way to experience the Games, and I was so lucky to be able to go. It has definitely made me want to get there one day… but right now all eyes are on our successful silver medal-winning eventing team and looking forward to the possibility of our dressage riders bringing home a gold or two!

Lauren

Find all H&H’s Olympic coverage here

Full 23-page report on the Olympic eventing in H&H out tomorrow, FRIDAY 3 August.

Originally published on horseandhound.co.uk