August 26, 2008

Comments in the media from riders and officials during and after the showjumping, dressage and eventing competitions of the Olympic Games in Hong Kong.

"It's not going to be cheap."
- International Olympic Committee vice president Thomas Bach's estimate of the participation costs that German show jumper Christian Ahlmann is to be asked to pay back after his horse failed a drug test.

"We are not going to finance a trip to China for cheats. We cannot pay for anyone who breaks the rules."
- International Olympic Committee vice president Thomas Bach


Heath Ryan and Greenoaks Dundee. © Franz Venhaus
"We need to do better."
-Britain's equestrian team leader Will Connell, on the performance of the country's three teams - who brought home two bronzes from six competitions.

"I am sick and tired of our name being dragged through the mud like this. I am deeply ashamed of what happened. Yesterday, my IOC colleagues were continually making reference to what they called 'another scandal for Ireland'. (They) are shocked and appalled that this is happening in this sport. There seems to be something wrong in the equestrian movement. They just have to get their act together. This sport could be in very serious difficulties for next year's vote, whether they remain on the programme or not."
- Olympic Council of Ireland president Pat Hickey on the Denis Lynch doping issue

"Yesterday was very, very bad. But the challenge is for everybody to restore confidence in the sport. Obviously we'd like to see show jumping remains as an Olympic sport."
- Damian McDonald, chief executive of Horse Sport Ireland

"I think some of the reporting by journalists and some of the commentary back home was very much over the top. Yes, it was stupid and it was foolish, but, overall, international equestrian bodies have a lot of soul-searching to do."
- Ireland's Sports Minister Martin Cullen, who said he felt Denis Lynch had been overly criticised.

"I'm fit enough to (continue coaching the Australian eventing team). I think I've outlasted most other people and I'm older than them."
- Australian eventing coach Wayne Roycroft on his future

"It's only a matter of time before we have more high class horses ... per rider than any other country in the world. Now, you marry that in with a nation that is basically a group of sporting freaks and I don't think you need to be Einstein to work out that the gold medals that have become nearly an Australian inheritance in eventing, we are going to do that in dressage."
- Australian dressage team member Heath Ryan on the sport's future down under

"If the horse likes the music we made for the horses then they can dance."
- German bronze medallist Heike Kemmer, who finished behind Anky Van Grunsven and Isabell Werth in individual dressage


Alexandra Korelova on Balagur - one of the few top-level competition horses in the world who is not a warmblood. © Franz Venhaus
"We didn't win by default (in 2004). Others just didn't play by the rules. We have lived for four years with people whining about that. Today was an exclamation point for that. And today was one of the greatest days for the sport in North America."
- US showjumping team member McLain Ward on the team's second successive gold medal

"She started spooking at something on the side. I have no idea what it was. I couldn't put my leg on her or anything; she just wanted to get out of there. It totally took me by surprise. I don't know what to say other than I just feel awful."
- US dressage rider Debbie McDonald on Brentina's uncharacteristic poor showing

"His breeding is Orlov trotter and I have been riding him for six years. Tonight I think he felt like he was doing crowd control again because he didn't want to walk and was looking around the stadium but then he settled and I was very pleased with how he went."
- Russia's Alexandra Korelova on former police and circus horse Balagur

"The FEI has a huge fight to even get to London in 2012. ... The IOC has very reasonable and legitimate concerns about eventing safety and the way the dressage committee is working, but walking away and saying 'thank God, nobody died,' just isn't good enough."
- FEI President Princess Haya