Apologies for not posting yesterday, but the return home has brought out the fatigue in me. I spent a good part of the middle of yesterday hitting ‘refresh’ on the TO2015 website during the Eventing show jumping, effectively following the competition via the online results, which were almost live, and my only option – given the CBC’s persistence in ignoring equestrian sport. I kept the CBC coverage on in the background here at home in the faint hope that there would be even just a shred of coverage yesterday. Last night in the day’s recap they did show Jessica Phoenix over about four fences in the show jumping, but I refuse to count that as actual coverage of a sport. However, I can report that if you are a fan of women’s basketball, taekwondo or women’s wrestling, there has been plenty to give you joy on CBC. And if you enjoy watching sports that kill horses (four of them at this year’s Stampede chuckwagon races), apparently CBC’s coverage of the Calgary Stampede has been second to none.
Speaking of disinterest in all things Pan Am Equestrian, the COC is right up there with the champions of the genre. Neither Jessica Phoenix nor Chris von Martels, both double medalists in team and individual competition, has been dragged down to Toronto for the COC’s daily ‘media availibilities’. And yes, that’s really how the COC insists on spelling ‘availabilities’, though only in its headline, not in the body of its announcements – which somehow makes the spelling error even worse. I already reported on the COC’s inability (or is that inabality?) to accurately convey the day’s equestrian results during dressage, and here is another example: on the daily competition schedule issued yesterday (which comes as an old, old school downloadable Excel spread sheet if you can believe it), Kathryn Robinson was listed as competing, even though she was eliminated on XC a full day earlier.
I emailed the COC to ask if they bother consulting with ANYONE in each sport to verify accuracy of what they are putting out, and this is what I got for an answer: ‘Our scheduling is based off of what TORONTO 2015 provides. We do warn media that these schedules are subject to change.’ In other words, No.
The COC doesn’t seem to think it necessary to find out who is in their photos, either. Here is a pic that was posted at the end of the day Saturday to announce the day’s medals:
There is no info at all beneath the photo where it appears at the top of the announcement. If you scroll to the bottom where the image appears again with a few others, here is the text in the caption: ‘GOLD – Cycling – Track – Sprint Men – BARRETTE | Photo: Michael P. Hall’. No first name of the gold medal-winning athlete (it’s Hugo), and no mention of who is handing him the flag. Oh it’s only Team Canada’s CHEF DE MISSION, and one of the coolest dudes in all of Canadian sport, Curt Harnett. And his wife, whom many in the equestrian community would immediately recognize as Victoria Winter – Canadian dressage team member, and Canadian dressage chef d’equipe at several major Games. Is it possible that no one in the COC actually knows what Curt looks like? He’s a pretty distinctive fella. I haven’t even met him but I can be certain I’d recognize him in a busy public place. But never mind, COC, it’s just the Canadian Chef de Mission handing a Canadian flag to a gold medalist in his own sport. No biggie.
I’m going to hold off writing about the total confusion and chaos at the eventing show jumping yesterday when the expected second round for individual medals failed to happen. I’ve asked the FEI for a meaningful explanation, not having received even an acknowledgment of my query from the venue press manager at the Caledon Equestrian School. When I decided to come home on Saturday evening after XC, I figured the potential for blog material in the form of organizational SNAFUs would be over with the cross country (which actually ran extremely smoothly – it’s not the organizers’ fault the course was easy and boring, it’s TO2015’s for hiring a designer from half way around the world and contracting everything outside of Canada). I mean, how complicated can Eventing show jumping be? Apparently very complicated. I’ll be back tomorrow, provided I have been graced with answers to the questions I have asked of the FEI.
In the meantime, hip hip hooray for Jessica Phoenix and Pavarotti for their silver medal. There are some awesome candid photos on Starting Gate Communication’s FB page from yesterday, including a shot of Captain Canada shaking hands with Clayton Fredericks as he walked the course with the Canadian eventers and gave them some handy hints.