I know jumping around the office shrieking, “I’ve been selected!” isn’t super professional. I know, I know.
But when my accreditation arrived for the Olympics, coincidentally on the same day as Britain named its equestrian teams (find out who made the cut below), it felt like I really had my foot on the Road to Rio.
British team announcements
I’ve known I’ll be one of H&H’s journalists at the Games for about six months. Paperwork for media has to be done much earlier than for athletes (hopefully we won’t lose form and be deselected…) and boy, there’s been been a fair bit of it.
Accreditation, accommodation, travel to and from the airport. Internet purchase. Yes, you heard right, media outlets pay for their internet at the Olympics.
Lots of forms, lots of emails to Brazil, lots of chasing up when they go unanswered.
Of course going to the Olympics as a journalist isn’t the same as going as a rider and I wouldn’t presume to say I’ve worked on the same level for this dream. But in some ways, I have an inkling of what riders feel like when they get that magic phone call.
By the time I land in Rio, I’ll have worked for H&H for a month shy of 13 years. This will be my fourth Olympics with H&H, though my first as an accredited reporter — and I knew after London that I wanted to be at the forefront of the selectors’ minds when it came to choosing our runner this time round.
Our selection trials? Well, for me it was mainly about proving I could be consistent across all the disciplines — eventing is my speciality, but I needed to turn my hoof to some more showjumping and dressage, showing I could pick up my toes over the coloured poles and piaffe with style.
So off I trotted to the showjumping European Championships and a couple of World Cup finals. In editorial terms, I’ve jumped clear rounds and showed off my flying changes for the highest percentages.
And now, it’s happening. And so yes, this is my Olympics too, the pinnacle of my career. Perhaps there will be more? Perhaps not. But I’m incredibly lucky to get one and while the riders fly fearsome oxers, demonstrate their best extended trot and tackle ditches and drops, I’ll be cantering through writing some 40,000 words during our two weeks in Brazil.
Let’s keep everything crossed for Team GB to bring home the medals so we have great things to report.
See you in Rio.