“We made a ton of mistakes,” the boss of Tryon has conceded, but he is “unbelievably proud” of what has been accomplished at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) venue.
Mark Bellissimo, of Tryon Equestrian Partners, spoke to reporters at WEG on Saturday (22 September).
He spoke of the challenges faced by the venue, which had had less than two years to prepare for the Games, having stepped in when original hosts Bromont, Canada, pulled out.
“I’m so very proud of all the things that have happened in the last two weeks with the exception of the things we started on [early problems such as with grooms’ accommodation] I take responsibility for, I made mistakes along the way,” he said.
“If that’s what’s remembered about this WEG then shame on me, shame on all of us, as I think what we’ve seen is probably some of the best sport WEGs have had.
“All the people who said this would never be done: they were wrong. What’s most important to me is that we’ve stepped up in difficult circumstances and did our best. It wasn’t perfect but perfect is the enemy of the good. We accept the fact we’re human and we make mistakes but in the end they’ll hopefully become afterthoughts.”
Mr Bellissimo said WEG is a “very tough” event that “has to be restructured”, suggesting that in future it could be shared between two or three venues running the Games on a cycle, and that he would not decide on whether or not to run the event again until he had talked to his team.
The grand prix freestyle will not go ahead at the World Equestrian Games in Tryon
The eventing showjumping and the grand prix freestyle have been postponed
High humidity after heavy rain forced cancellation of the competition today
“We made a ton of mistakes,” he said. “Great organisations take those mistakes and learn. If we ran it again, would it be unbelievable? Absolutely.”
The FEI has said there have been no bids to run the 2022 Games yet, but there has been interest from various countries, and that the organisation is to review the event’s cost-effectiveness, sustainability and format.
Horse & Hound had two journalists and a photographer in Tryon for WEG. Keep up to date with all the news on horseandhound.co.uk and in the magazine issues dated 20 and 27 September.