- 18 Aug 08, 06:44 AM
Thank goodness for a bit of R and R, after being told categorically last night that John Whitaker was out of the Games, he's now looking like he might be back in the team.
John rode Peppermill this morning and reported the stallion to be feeling a lot better.
The team only need to count three scores from each round so they managed joint
fourth without him but their job in tonight's final round would certainly be made easier with all four to choose from.
John is their anchorman and is generally regarded as
one of the greatest horsemen in the world.
Good luck boys, if you win a medal here it will be a remarkable achievement. We'll find out later on if John will jump. The final rounds start from 1215 BST and I think it's going to be an absolute corker.
Any one of six nations could realistically bag gold. Although from looking at the top jumpers last night I think it'll be the Americans again. They just look on really good form.
By the way, did anyone notice how tough the water jump was? That was the hardest water fence I've ever seen - 4.2m wide (so about normal size) yet it was just a few strides on a left-hand angle from a big vertical. It was virtually impossible for anyone without a super-scopy horse to clear, which is why something like 25 of the first 35 riders landed a foot in it.
The design was spooky as well and one rider early on couldn't get his horse anywhere near it!
I thought Li Zhenqiang, one of the Chinese team, had the best idea when he took his horse round to the right after the vertical so as to get the maximum run up.
I guess it should be tough though, and as Michael Whitaker said to me when he joined me on BBC Radio 5 Live again, "This is the Olympics, the fences are always a bit different."
Throughout these blogs, I haven't mentioned anything about Hong Kong and that's because there's been so much sport to chat about.
But I must mention something I saw yesterday which made me a bit homesick. There's a group of oldies here called the "joyful arts club" who gather along the side of the Shing Mun river every now and again to do what I can only describe as bad "street karaoke".
About 15 of them, mostly missing their teeth and certainly all well into their 70s sit around taking it in turns to warble Chinese pop songs into the mic.
Apart from the singing quality, it's all very professional with a screen for the lyrics and an amplifier pumping out the backing track.
There's even a man playing the saxophone, slightly out of time but he was enjoying himself. In fact everyone was enjoying themselves. Their crinkled little faces looked so contented.
It made me feel happy to be alive but also as I say, a tad homesick.
In my village we have regular, impromptu karaoke sessions courtesy of Lloyd. The age range is a lot lower, we all have our own teeth and we don't tend to have them on the side of the brook!
But they are mostly al fresco and I'm sure the surrounding houses think we sound as bad as the "joyful arts club."
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