After a whirlwind weekend, U.S. eventers can collectively exhale a sigh of relief as we’ve officially secured a team spot in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. From the podium, here’s what our gold medal team had to say:
Boyd Martin: “This is a big relief. We all worked very, very hard. There was a lot of pressure coming here, and it’s just good to pull off a good performance. I think it was a brilliant competition. It was everything you dream of in a championship. I think the crowd had an exciting contest to the very finish, and this was much harder of a competition than I expected. We came here and were under the gun a bit, and we all stepped out and tried our hardest… We have great horses and good riders. We have the best coach. There was no stone left unturned.”
Lynn Symansky: “This is a group that knows each other already. We all get along really well, and it does make the pressured environment easier when you have a group of people that supports each other when things don’t always go according to plan. It’s pretty special to not have everything go one-hundred percent for everyone yesterday and to come back out and do four clean rounds. It’s a nice feeling to wrap everything up with.”
Doug Payne: “For a championship like this, you show up and the vast amount of support that we get both from U.S. Equestrian, the owners, all of the support staff. We are really the top that’s visible, but we wouldn’t be here without their help, and of course the horses. They put forward a great effort and we’ll forever be appreciative.”
“Massive thanks to both Laurie McRee and Catherine Winter for taking a chance on the ‘Ginga’ and me just a year and a half ago. Crazy to think she did her first intermediate a year ago this weekend and now a team gold and 4th individually in the Pan American Games.”
Tamie Smith: “He feels ready to go again. He just felt great today. He really ate up the atmosphere and couldn’t have been better. I’m really proud of him. That’s what makes this sport beautiful. I’m just really grateful that my teammates performed great. My horse is wonderful, and we were both a little caught out there yesterday and that won’t be a mistake we have again.”
Erik Duvander, chef d’equipe: “I’m just honestly really pleased to be a part of this group. Today is the rider’s day and the owner’s day. I’ve seen how much work these guys have put into this; the preparation and how much it means to them, and then be able to execute. I couldn’t wish for a better ending than four clear rounds, and that’s a really strong performance. Everyone stayed on task through to the very end. If we can keep building on what we did here and keep that momentum it will get us closer and closer. It’s about using every day we have before Tokyo to keep improving in the same manner that we’ve been working now.”
This weekend was also a farewell to Joanie Morris, who has stood at the helm of the sport in our country for the past seven years, as she closes out her tenure as the USEF Managing Director of Eventing. Joanie has dedicated much of herself to the sport, and we, as fans of eventing, are all indebted to her.
From 2012-2019, Joanie served through five major championships, and according to EquiRatings, her time produced 124 four-star wins and 35 top-five finishes on European soil by U.S. riders
From Joanie: “I’m incredibly proud of this entire team. This job has been an incredible privilege, and I was proud to see it through to Olympic qualification, as that was the goal here. Individual gold and silver are just the icing on the cake, and it was two riders who have been in this program since the beginning of my time with US Equestrian. I’m very proud of them and look forward to all of the team’s successes in the future,” she said.