Former five-star event rider Pierre Le Goupil has been appointed cross-country course-designer for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The Frenchman, who has experience designing courses all over the world, rode at top level until 2002. He first became involved in organising events in 1995, when his family created Le Grand Complet, the largest equestrian event in Normandy, which moved to Haras National du Pin in 2010.
“Taking part in the Olympic Games, somehow or other and whatever your role, can be seen as an absolute dream or the pinnacle in a career. I feel honoured to be appointed for the Paris Olympic Games as the eventing course-designer of a cross-country course held in the park of Versailles palace,” said Pierre.
“It is truly something like getting the job of a lifetime! But it is also, and above all, a huge challenge; that I am totally aware of. The fabulous opportunity of running the Olympic equestrian sports in such an iconic venue also commits all those who will be in charge of the event to the highest level of responsibility.
“I am extremely thankful to those who trust and support me and I am excited to start racking my brains in that inspirational playground.”
Pierre, 59, hails from a family with a strong background in horse sport and breeding, and his father, Andre Le Goupil, represented France in eventing at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.
He has designed courses in 10 countries, including Brazil, Bulgaria, Belarus, China, Hungary, India, Japan, Russia and Chile. Pierre is also course-designer for two major championships in 2023 – the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile, and the European Championships at Haras du Pin.
“I am very happy that a French representative has been chosen to build the Olympic cross-country course, in his home country, on a site with such historic value”, said FEI eventing committee chairman David O’Connor.
“Le Goupil has travelled the world designing courses at top international shows, and the Olympics is the pinnacle of any sporting achievement. There is enormous pride in representing your country in a sport and profession you have dedicated your life to, and to be recognised on the greatest sporting international stage.”
David added that there is “no doubt” that Pierre, supported by the organising committee and his team, will “pay homage to his great nation through the creation of the cross-country course”.
“Demanding, technical and spectacular, but always with horse welfare at the fore, showcasing key features of Versailles as the centre stage of the equestrian competitions,” he said.
“As a former Olympian myself, I can only reiterate the feeling of pride when competing for your country – it exudes from within. It’s a unique experience for athletes, for fans and everyone involved in the Games. There is nothing that compares to the nostalgia you get when you walk on to the Olympic site knowing all that you have worked for to get there. Your roots, your heritage, your culture, and your place of living all on display to the world, the expectations are high but such an honour is irreplaceable.”
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