Só Alegria – Victory Celebrations for the Germans, Taxi Drivers who Forget their English, and Shootings Over and Over

Today most of us seem to be in the same state of fatigue, in which Michael Jung must have been just after his title defence. When the whole tension ebbed away and all the press inquiries rained down on him he simply was tired. Somehow we all ran out of steam after these first medal decisions, but later when our four-legged talent Cosmo and Sönke Rothenberger (or just before them Adelinde Cornelissen’s Parzival) will perform in the arena everyone will be wide awake.
Today the German eventers will possibly be even more tired. Yesterday they partied hard in the German House, where Hans Melzer’s team was welcomed with a light and fog performance. We also took the chance to visit the German House near the Copacabana, part of a neater area than the others we already saw of Rio. It’s nice there, a homely atmosphere, good food, great drinks. The complete families, friends, and horse owners of the eventers were there, but also the German dressage team and some people from the show jumper’s team management. Marcus Ehning also came to toast with his show jumping “pupil” Michael Müller -ahm  Jung. Yes, even the winner of an Olympic gold medal gets a funny look on his face when a reporter calls him Michael Müller. “Almost right,” the new and old Olympic winner said.
Even Andreas Ostholt came to the German House, even though it was hard for him to see that the others and not him were applauded. But the rider, degraded to the fifth man in Rio, showed himself to be a team player, like Ingrid Klimke emphasised. Even though he had had to swallow the bitter pill he painted a t-shirt with a personal message for every member of the team and all of them had hung them in their boxes. Apparently they were not the worst lucky charms.
Apparently the show jumpers also took new approaches to team building this year. German national coach Otto Becker knew that yesterday all members of his team wanted to wear the same shirt. They don’t only want to demonstrate their unity to others but they also feel they are a unity. Therefore the four knew that they wanted to go to the Olympic Village. The national coach said it was their explicit wish. In the past not all of the teams were keen on having room mates.
One really should appear to be a unity in Rio, that hold also true for us. Yesterday morning a Canadian colleague told us that her photographic equipment had been stolen from the media shuttle. And tomorrow it went through all channels that a bus full of Journalists was attacked on its way from the Rugby arena to the Main Press Centre in Deodoro. It’s not yet clear if the attack was carried out with stones or gunfire. The rugby arena is just across the street, that’s not really reassuring. And eventer Dirk Schrade – present as coach of Japanese Yoshi Oiwa- is supposed to have blundered into a shooting with a car. This also could have happened to us yesterday when we went to the German House by taxi. When the drive home took three times as long as the first drive and also cost three times as much and we tried to explain to the taxi driver that we were not willing to pay the price he simply “lost” his previously quite good English. Then explained that he took a “safe round” (he really only drove through lonely side streets) and this caused us to willingly pay the extra charge. Sometimes one really should be willing to make compromises.