9 things we learnt from the winter Olympics

  • What can a dressage rider possibly learn from a lycra-clad lunatic bombing headfirst down an ice chute, I hear you ask. What parallels can be drawn between 6 horses hopping hedges with the Fernie and half a dozen boarders taking each other out over snow peaks? Now you start to see where we’re going with this… It transpires there is much for the horse enthusiast to learn from Sochi’s superstars.

    Winter Olympians are as mad as riders
    Although event riders and jockeys like to consider themselves the adrenalin junkies of the sporting world, some Winter Olympic events make riding a horse look like child’s play.  Watching sports such as skeleton — which requires hurling yourself head first down an icy track — makes jumping Becher’s Brook look positively appealing.

    Always wear a helmet
    23-year-old Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova showed viewers why helmets are important in all high-risk sports when she miraculously walked away from a crash that was so violent it split her helmet.

    Sweeping is a sport
    For those owners who have also claimed that doing yard chores is a form of exercise, there is now official proof — curling. In the sport, which is a form of bowls on ice, sweeping skills are vitally important. Perhaps TeamGB should recruit from the equestrian world for 2018?

    sochi 1

    The racing world helped Jones win medal
    Jenny Jones, who secured Britain’s first medal on snow, could not have done so without the help of the Injured Jockeys Fund rehabilitation centre Oaksey House in Lambourn, Berkshire. Jenny was referred to Oaksey after suffering concussion and balance problems from a training fall in November.

    Clare is the Queen of TV sport
    Despite her racing background, Clare Balding is just as informative on the snow as she is on the racetrack. Let’s hope they let us have her back in time for Cheltenham…

    clare balding

    Riding is a good starting place
    Lizzie Yarnold, who won gold in the skeleton, used to be a keen rider before she discovered skelton through the Girls4Gold talent finding scheme when she was 19.  When she first applied to Girls4Gold, she was hoping to be selected for modern pentathlon.

    Horses were nearly involved
    Skijoring, when a skier is pulled by a towline attached to the harness of a galloping horse, nearly became an Olympic sport 86 years ago. The sport was a demonstration event at the 1928 Olympics, but its supporters failed to convince the International Olympic Committee.

    Germans don’t just dominate at dressage
    Germany’s impressive sporting results don’t just lie in the equestrian world. In the sport of luge, which is when athletes go feet first down an icy track on a sledge, they picked up an impressive 4 golds and 1 silver. Time for another British comeback?

    Winter Olympians also have high medical bills
    Some of the Winter Olympians could give riders a run for their money in the breaking bones stakes. Showjumper Nick Skelton may have recovered from breaking his neck in 2000 (as well as numerous other bones along the way), but Britain’s top alpine skier Chemmy Alcott has broken 42 bones during her career, including her right leg 3 times.

    You may like...