The Olympic eventing competition has been decided two days ago. Even though the German team was able to reach a happy end with the silver medal after the rather bad day of the cross country competition, subsequently discussions will (have to) be had. Swapping Andreas Ostholt for Julia Krajewski did not only cause an uproar in the media, but also among the team. The strong team spirit that distinguished the eventing team for years has been impacted by the decision. The team still tried to uphold mutual collaboration and support, but nobody can deny that the manner, in which the decision was taken by the national coaching staff around Hans Melzer and Chris Bartle, has damaged the positive attitude. In the end Julia Krajewski herself was subject to even more pressure than just a championship debut at the Olympic Games.
After the team decision she said: “We will have to talk about what led us to this result. I don’t know how often I suffered goosebumps and sweated terribly this week.” A statement that makes clear how the young talented rider must felt inside. The day of the cross country, so she said “was one of the hardest days of my life.” And then the insulting comments by tv commentator Carsten Sostmeier came on top of that. “Outsiders sometimes seem to forget that this is a human being,” the rider said and shook her head. At the same time she looked forward: “You always takes something with you, even from such a week.You also notices who’s there to support you when things go bad. But I was really shocked and concerned by how the cross country course worked out.”
The week altogether had been hard. “I came here as reserve rider – and liked to have this role- and then I got substituted in, which was accompanied by many discussions, and then this result. As a start I will have to work through all of that.”
Krajewski’s team colleague Ingrid Klimke also demands a reappraisal concerning the cross country course. Klimke became very blunt: “The previous Olympic Games were an advertisement for our sport, but in this course you were just barely able to smile. Colleagues said it was like a CIC – only for ten minutes. The horses got too much mentally challenged. You have to imagine: I walked through the course five times, 30 kilometres – but the horses see it for the first time. The line from the edge to the gate … they jump over the edge with all their courage and then there’s such a gate. Does it have to be that way?
In Caen, so Klimke said, she and the team won gold and then still sat down with the team and wrote a letter. And now, two years later it was again the same course designer who was responsible for the championship. “Then you begin to wonder,” so Klimke said. “I really love this sport – but what can we do? Where does the journey go? We did development work for such a long time. I hope that there will be an analysis like two years ago and I hope that will help.” Of course, so Klimke said there had been alternatives for the horses, “but they were not prettier for them”. One usually wouldn’t want to discourage them by constantly averting the path. However, Klimke commended that many riders had thought quickly and then took the alternatives. “Many would have deserved an award for strategic and clever riding.”
Yes, there definitively seems to be a demand for communication. In our fast-paced lives many things get suppressed quickly. For the sake of the sport here someone should take action.