Wow! What a day and what a night. Yesterday after various morning meetings I went to see the legendary “arrival of the ice” with the Ice Queen, Max Corcoran, an ITO from USA who is in charge of cooling (acronyms are everywhere at the Olympics – ITO = International Technical Official). Max has done a lovely video which I can share after the Games. I will be running a FREE webinar “Olympic Roundup – Let’s go behind the scenes” on Wednesday 11th August, showing photos and videos of all things equestrian.
Some Olympic Ice Facts
- Each stable block has four blue insulated water containers
- Each one holds around 700 litres of water
- These are kept below 15°C between 06:00 and 22:00h each day
- There are 6 cooling areas in warmup and training areas with two blue water containers in
- At the start of the day 500 x 1.7kg ice blocks are used to lower the temperature for the stables and 220 for the cooling tents
- That’s a total of 1224kg of ice or 1.2 metric tons of ice
- A further 1.2 tons of ice is used during the day to keep the containers below at least 15°C
- A 120 bags of crushed ice are used each day for icing legs
Early evening just before the Dressage Freestyle it was lovely to see so many eventers and jumpers out relaxing.
Last night we were watching the lightning again. Around 1h into the Dressage Freestyle we started to see flashs of lightning from the Judge’s tower but could not hear thunder. The closest lightning was around 10km from the Equestrian Venue and at one stage halting competition was close, but discussion with the Japanese Meterological Agency staff clarified that we should be able to safely continue. Having the medal ceremony the next day or tonight without horses was also very close to being called.
Whilst it was warm again last night there was no cause for concern. Its been impressive how well teams have prepared for the heat and taken on advice. Don’t think I’ve seen a sweat scraper since I’ve been here. The picture below shows me with Goran Akerstrom (FEI Veterinary Director) and Emily Sandler (Veterinary Commission) enjoying the sunset and the dressage.
One of the advantages of being all access is that I could get down to watch Charlotte and Gio and managed a photo as they came in after their test which gave them Bronze, which of course I was delighted for them. It’s a funny position to see riders and horses who’s preparation I’ve been heavily involved with here but for whom at the Olympics I have no involvement at all due to my FEI role. And the stands were pretty full which was lovely for all the riders.
This morning as I was walking around the stables Alan Davies kindly let me have a photo with Gio. This might be my best moment here so far. I would have tried to get one with Charlotte, Charlotte and Carl but they were already on their way to the airport. Due to COVID there is no hanging around in Japan once your event is over. But the great news for the horses is that their journey home will be 7h shorter due to Isabell Werth pulling some BIG strings in Russia to allow the Emirates flight to be able to fly direct over Russian airspace which avoids the need to refuel in Dubai. This is such a great result and I am informed ALL horse flights will be able to do the same.
A few people have said how lucky I am to be here. I completely understand but for me it’s a privilege that I really appreciate and also a great responsibility and opportunity to be able to contribute to equine welfare. So far the heat hasn’t had any negative impact as far as I can see and that’s a great result.
The eventing trot up was this morning and it was pretty warm. The eventers were very sensibly using the indoor arena to wait to be called.
Today we have no competitions. So it will be an early departure (6:30pm) and a chance to order in some good food – anything will be better than last night’s emergency Pot Noodle as I missed dinner whilst on lightning watch!