2012 was, for me, the Year of the Olympics. I was Horse & Hound’s accredited journalist at Greenwich, and covered all three disciplines. I’d like to say that it’s because I am some sort of superhumanly brilliant reporter, but I’m pretty sure that it’s just because, at time when the Editor was deciding who would get the gig, my boyfriend dumped me and she felt sorry for me…
Since the Olympics finished, I have made a conscious effort not to use words such as “awesome”, “amazing”, “incredible”, “superb” or “thrilling”. Now, life is “fine” or “quite good”. The summer of superlatives is over, and we’ve returned to life at working trot.
It almost seems like a dream — was I really there? Did I actually write 25,000 words in the magazine and on the H&H website? Did the terrific team who ran the media centre really have to lock me in on the night the Brits won eventing silver as it was 11pm and I still had a couple of thousand words to write? Did I walk each and every showjumping course at Greenwich and get my photo taken beside the Post Box fence? Were all those interviews I did for Al-Jazeera TV ever aired? And what about that photo of the H&H girls — including me — with the showjumpers, all high as kites on Champagne and overexcitement the night the Brits grabbed team gold…?
One highlight from a fortnight with as many as an upmarket hairdresser’s? The showjumpers jumping off for, and winning, team gold. I watched it alone at the very top of the press tribune — most of the press viewed it on screens in the mixed zone, where riders came to talk to the press, but I just felt I HAD to see it live.
Heart hammering and stomach churning, I couldn’t sit still and paced along the top of the stands. I know it’s a horrible cliché to say that the tension was palpable, but it honestly was — somehow the air thickened, and the stands became swamped with a weird flood of adrenalin.
I’m not sure I even believe it now — did Peter Charles really jump clear? I wasn’t sure I trusted my eyes, but the roar of surprise and joy as it was announced that Britain, astonishingly, had taken gold, was verification. Sad as it may sound, I nearly passed out with excitement.
And now? As Shakespeare so perspicaciously said: “Golden lads and girls all must, As chimney-sweepers, come to dust.”
I definitely have more than a touch of Post-Olympic Disorder. Will anything even half as amazing ever happen again? Why aren’t the Olympics an annual event? And if I get a new boyfriend now and organise for him to dump me in a callous manner before Rio, can I please report in 2016?
Horse & Hound celebrates an incredible 12 months for the equestrian world in our 2012 Review of the Year magazine (6 December, 2012). Grab your copy from your local stockist or buy a digital issue online now.