— Carola Brighenti (@CarolaBrighenti) July 26, 2021
It’s official: the embargo on the Olympic cross-country course has been lifted and right now, our Tokyo competitors are trying to force down some breakfast after taking their first walks around the track at the crack of dawn this morning. With the opening of the course comes an end to the moratorium on public images, and so, thanks to some savvy social media posts and the help of the Cross-Country App, we can take our own first look at the challenge to come. We’ll be bringing you a more in-depth look at the course over the next couple of days, but for now, let’s dive into some quick and dirty first impressions.
Designed by Derek di Grazia – best known for his work at the Land Rover Kentucky Three-Day Event – the course is set at roughly 4420m and will take roughly 7 minutes and 45 seconds to complete. It’s set at the Sea Forest venue, a man-made island atop a former landfill site that’s also being used for the Olympic canoeing and rowing. While Sea Forest offers the most spectacular views of the Tokyo skyline, it doesn’t yield up an enormous amount of space – and so looking at the aerial view course map is a pretty dizzying experience. We talk a lot about how twisty and turny Pau has to be to fit into a compact urban space – and this track takes that to the next level.
Fancy taking a closer look? You can check out each fence via the Cross Country App course preview – or keep scrolling to see some of the social media snapshots from this morning’s first walks and final decorations. The cross-country phase will take place from 7.45 a.m. local time on Sunday morning, which means an all-nighter through Saturday night for most of us – for live-stream options and timetables by time zone, click here.
Irish European Championships bronze medalist Cathal Daniels logs an early course walk:
As does Belgium’s Lara de Liedekerke-Meier:
Want to stay in the know with all things Olympic eventing? We’re getting ready to kick off daily editions of our Olympic Digest starting Wednesday, July 28. You can sign up for free right here.