H&H Hero to Hero: Andrew Nicholson and Oliver Townend *H&H Plus*

Two of the world’s most brilliant event riders discuss how they handle pressure, compare their top horses and how many they ride before breakfast time

Oliver: You’ve been to six Olympics. What do you remember of your first one, Los Angeles in 1984?

Andrew: It was great fun. I was 23, and I had no idea what to expect. We stayed in the Olympic Village. Because we rode at about 5am every day before it got too hot, we would be back in time for breakfast and we tried out all the sports facilities – the running track, the high jumps, tennis, you name it. One day we had lunch with sprinter Carl Lewis, and although I recognised him I didn’t really appreciate how special it was to bump into people like him every day. I was too young and naïve – now I’d be a bit more aware of it all.

Oliver: I’m definitely old enough to appreciate things like that!

Andrew: That was the only Olympics until London 2012 where I spent time in the Olympic Village. Usually we were staying in houses near the equestrian parks, which were always a long way away from the other events. For London we were back in the Village and it makes you realise what an Olympics is – you see wrestlers, boxers, athletes walking around at 2am because they can’t sleep, and you appreciate the pressure of an Olympics and what these athletes are putting themselves through, and that’s what it’s all about.