Fox-Pitt hails Olympic experience

01 August 2012 / 16:31

William Fox-Pitt has reflected on the "incredible journey" that Great Britain's Olympic medal-winning eventers have just completed.

Their work at London 2012 is done, and the five-strong team will disperse on Thursday as proud new owners of silver medals, although they all hope to return for Sunday week's closing ceremony.

The choice of Greenwich Park as an Olympic eventing venue had many critics over many months, but few who witnessed the competition's four-day marathon will forget it.

"It's been an incredible journey, and unlike anything we have ever experienced before," world number one Fox-Pitt told Press Association Sport.

"To have ridden in front of that crowd with that atmosphere will never be repeated. It has been a very special occasion, even when it poured with rain."

A crowd of 50,000 packed into the park to watch Monday's spectacular cross-country action, and seasoned equestrian followers claimed they had seen nothing like it. The spine-tingling atmosphere apart, Fox-Pitt admitted it had taken the world's best riders into unfamiliar territory.

"We had to ride pretty crazily on the cross-country, but the crowds were even madder," he added. "You were just swept along on this kind of wave of enthusiasm. I think everyone was forced to ride out of their comfort zone. The terrain of the course meant we weren't riding at a speed we would normally ride at.

"I think that's why it became an interesting competition. There was so much pressure on the riders and time faults were expensive. You were hurling yourself around that course.

"It was very slippery in parts, and the cambers were the worst we have ever seen. When you came down the steep hill before the fruit and vegetable stall fence, you were coming down in dips and you could see the horse's legs kind of scattering as they tried to find their balance.

"There wouldn't be any other event that would be produced like that, but they couldn't deal with the terrain at Greenwich to make it smoother. They had to go with what was naturally there."