Olympic blog: Greenwich rocks

  • Still buzzing.

    It’s two hours since William Fox-Pitt nursed a very tired Lionheart home – to the sorts of whoops and cheers usually reserved for rock stars – and I’m still fizzing with excitement.

    I’ve been babbling about it to anyone who will listen; people on the Tube, the man in the corner shop, my non-horsey husband.

    It was, quite simply, the most thrilling day’s sport that most of us who got the ‘golden ticket’ for Greenwich have ever seen.

    Five storming rounds from Team GBR. Three of William’s ‘gorgeous blondes’ romping home within the time, with the fourth – Mary King – just a few seconds over.

    The naysayers were proved wrong; the course – ‘tiddly’ I heard someone call it first thing – proved the undoing of many, the slippery conditions decimating the Australian team and sending the overnight leader, Japan’s Yoshi Oiwa, tumbling down one of Greenwich’s vertiginous hills.

    Nor did the Germans and Swedes get away from us as so many had predicted.

    Yes, Michael Jung and co. delivered their usual clinical clears – but hey, so did we. As we go into the final phase, Team GB are in silver medal position with fewer than two poles separating the Germans, Brits and Swedes.

    For too long, eventing has been marginalised as an elitist minority sport – a friend was invited onto the BBC Breakfast sofa the other day, only to be asked, ‘why are all riders rich?’ They just don’t get it – I read in the Evening Standard on the way home that Zara Phillips took part in the ‘horseriding’ today.

    But maybe this is when it all changes. Hell, we even had the Duchess of Cambridge at Greenwich today. Maybe she can do for our sport what she did for the profile of the high street fashion label LK Bennett.

    But for now, I’m going to kick back with a glass of wine and Sky Plus and watch it all again, reliving that festival atmosphere and the party in the park.

    Yes, there were lengthy queues for food and I’ve see pleasanter loos at Glastonbury. And yes, some stalls ran out of bottled water, so we drank cider instead and sat in the sunshine in front of the big screen and screamed ourselves silly whenever one our fabulous five cleared a fence.

    Greenwich 2012. I was there. And it rocked.


    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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