Olympic blog: Greenwich bakes on the first day of eventing

  • There will be a few painful arms, legs, noses and foreheads tonight after the first day of the eventing competition of London 2012.

    When the sun came out it was sweltering, although I think many of the crowd were lulled into a false sense of security by the cool breeze and occasional cloud cover — hence the painful patches.

    The competition was equally hot, with Dirk Schrade leading for most of the day and Mary King slotting into second, only to be upset by Ingrid Klimke with just four to go.

    It seems equestrian fans had heeded the warning of “Getting ahead of the Games” and there was no mad scramble to get in — in fact it was easy, with not a queue in sight, even to get through security.

    But once you were in the queues began.

    Mindful of LOGOG’s promise that water points would be available around the site many punters had brought empty plastic bottles with them.

    Sadly these water points were woefully inadequate — a couple of water fountains that dribbled into bottles — and queues reached waiting times of around an hour.

    Loos were copious and there was little queuing time, but even by mid-morning some were showing signs of ill-use and were flooded, blocked and worse.

    But the cleaning teams were lovely and quickly swung into action wherever needed, with a smile and an apology.

    The other issue that will need resolving before the hordes descend on Monday for the cross-country is the food provision.

    A number of catering outlets had to pack up before lunch because they ran out of food, which tried a few frazzled patiences.

    However the overall Olympic experience was brilliant — the crowds were enthusiastic, the staff endlessly cheerful and the sport top-class.

    Roll on Sunday and the second half of the dressage.


    Don’t miss H&H’s full report of the Olympic eventing, in the issue on sale FRIDAY 3 August – 23-page special report, with comments from Ruth Edge, Pippa Funnell and Mark Phillips, pictures of every cross-country fence, stunning photos and full analysis.

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