My heart has just about stopped trying to burst out of my chest and resumed its normal rhythm. If the pressure was getting to me, what must it have been like for William Fox-Pitt, Zara Phillips, Mary King and Tina Cook in the final showjumping rounds for Olympic eventing medals?
Alas, I wasn’t at Greenwich, but watching on a giant TV screen borrowed for the duration of the London Games and located in pride of place at H&H Towers. Lord knows what will happen to it after the Games; I have kindly offered to take it home for safekeeping…
Anyway, it was almost as good as a ringside seat. And back to that pressure on Zara. Unusually, most of the national press — redtops and quality alike — have embraced eventing enthusiastically for the first time. Purely coincidence that The Queen’s granddaughter happens to be on Team GBR, I’m sure.
With members of her illustrious family present, the burden on Zara’s 31-year-old shoulders must have been heavy indeed in the team rounds. She and High Kingdom rolled a pole — and the entire staff of H&H groaned along with the audience in Greenwich — but she held her nerve and got home with four faults plus three time-penalties.
The time was pretty tight, but William Fox-Pitt nipped inside and was clear with Lionheart. Mary King, like the consummate professional that she is, produced a copybook clear with seconds to spare on Imperial Cavalier. What a woman! We think she should run for Prime Minister.
Tina Cook had just one time-penalty, but was otherwise clear. Good enough for team silver behind the mighty Germans, favourites from the off and 2008 Olympic gold medal holders. How we’d have loved gold, but silver is not so shabby.
Zara was, if anything, under more pressure in the individual — her first at an Olympics and on home turf to boot. But she produced the goods this time, clear inside the time. A magnificent effort — the entire office burst into spontaneous applause. Now who can say the selectors shouldn’t have picked her for the team?
Tina and Mary both had two down, but finished fifth and sixth. Just outside the medals, but pretty good results nonetheless.
Can you imagine if we’d have won gold? We would have heard the cheers from Greenwich in H&H Towers – and they would probably have heard ours.