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Team GB’s Olympic Equestrians

With the Paralympic Games having just closed the curtain on a cracking sporting summer for Great Britain and the world, it’s now time to reflect on the over-all performances of both of the British teams involved. The results are already in for ‘Team GB’ and ‘ParalympicsGB’, with both teams coming in an impressive 3rd in their respective medal tables. One area in which London 2012 differs from past Olympic Games is in the success that has been enjoyed in the paddock. Equestrian events have proven one of the main areas of improvement for Team GB and ParalympicsGB have kept up with their impressive track record too this summer.

TEAM GB Success

For many years Olympic success has eluded the GB & NI Olympic Equestrian teams that have competed. A smattering of Gold medals have been won at past Olympic events, however London 2012 has hopefully marked a new era of Team GB domination in the discipline, and acted as a performance that can be replicated at ‘Rio 2016′. At London 2012 Team GB finished up 1st overall in the Equestrian medal table, with 3 Gold, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze.

Spurred on by great home crowds and backed up by relentless training Team GB came through for the nation. I’m sure that the hours spent in the paddock with their horses and a Lunge Cavesson, working on every little detail helped equally as much as the euphoric atmosphere and crowd cheering them on.

PARALYMPICS GB Success

Britain’s Paralympic squad have been at the forefront of the equestrian disciplines since it was first introduced as a Paralympic sport back in Atlanta 1996. London 2012 has seen a great medal haul for the ParalympicsGB team across the board and the equestrian disciplines are no different. Domination is one word that could be attributed to ParalympicsGB’s role in the equestrian events, taking home 11 medals in total with 5 of them being Gold.

Home Advantage

With such a marked improvement across the board in the Equestrian medal tables, and with the Olympic Games being held here in Britain, one has to wonder as to the advantage of playing to a home crowd. Whilst the crowds at London 2012 were a mix of nationalities it was the British fans that were undoubtedly in the majority.

Standing watching the men’s Marathon you could see that the support of the crowd was dispersed evenly to all of the athletes that came by one by one no matter what their nationality. In the faster sports however, and especially in head to heads, it’s often hard to differentiate between who’s cheering for who. In these cases the athletes must rely on just having a feeling for who’s being cheered, as I’m sure that anyone competing against Team GB or ParalympicsGB would be seriously doubting that the roar of the crowd was for them.

In events such as the Equestrian disciplines where the competitors take turns, it’s unlikely that the home advantage really takes pride of place in the drive to win, with the crowd cheering equally for all competitors. In this scenario therefore success must be due to the knowledge that you’re surrounded by your countrymen, competing on home soil, and that all eyes are on you coupled with great training and an impressive build up.

Citations:

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