Bob ‘the builder’ Ellis chosen to create Olympic track

  • Britain’s Bob Ellis has been named as showjumping course designer for the 2010 London Olympic Games. The decision follows a lengthy selection period that began last year.

    Tim Hadaway, 2012 equestrian manager, told H&H: “Bob’s proposal was first class and he brings with him an experienced support team [Steve Renoir, Kelvin Bywater and Ireland’s Alan Wade].”

    “It’s one hell of a challenge,” said Mr Ellis. “But one that me and my team are really looking forward to.”

    Also competing for the post were Germany’s Frank Rothenberger, Italy’s Uliano Vezzani and Guilherme Nogueira Jorge of Brazil.

    “It’s right and fitting that we should have a Brit do the job,” said 2008 Olympian Tim Stockdale. “Bob is more than qualified.”

    His sentiments were echoed by British showjumping team manager Rob Hoekstra, who added: “I’ve got a great deal of respect for him. I know he’ll come up with something special.”

    The decision will also go down well with showjumping fans.

    More than 1,000 people joined a Facebook group entitled “Bob ‘the builder’ Ellis for course designer at the 2012 Olympic Games”.

    However, the appointment involves some sacrifices.

    “I’ve already decided to give up some shows,” said Mr Ellis, who is one of only 15 Olympic-level course designers in the world. “We need to start cracking on with fence design and within the next two months will have a first draft of tracks.

    “I was supposed to be at Spruce Meadows this week, but I’ve had to tell them I can’t do it now.”

    The former international rider began his course-building career in 1973. His ideas for specially themed London 2012 fences are top secret though Mr Ellis says some will be based on London’s skyline.

    The manufacture of the fences will go out to tender in 2011.

    Mr Hadaway added: “The great thing about showjumping and eventing is that they are the only Olympic sports where you can show off a country’s heritage and traditions.
    “We will be focusing on Britain and London, and particularly Greenwich’s maritime history and the Meridian line.”

    FEI rules allow course designers to build only one of each of the major championships – the Olympics Games, European Championships, World Equestrian Games and the World Cup final – during their career.

    Having designed last year’s Europeans at Windsor, this will be Bob’s second major championship.

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