Zara Phillips Picked For UK Olympic Team
Zara Phillips has been nominated as part of the British team for the London Olympics, the British Equestrian Federation officially confirmed.
The Queen’s eldest granddaughter defied the odds to claim her way to a spot on the team. Just a couple of weeks ago, she was considered to be a long shot to make the strong squad – one of Britain’s main hopes for an Olympic gold. However, always a fighter, Zara won the coveted spot after a string of very strong performances lately, including third place in the Bramham International CIC three-star class on Sunday with a personal best dressage score, and then jumping clear in the show-jumping and cross-country phases. Equestrian sport is anything but easy; it combines the precise movements of dressage, the athletic display of show-jumping, and the endurance and speed needed for cross country courses.
Obviously thrilled at the opportunity, Zara said in a statement on Monday: “It’s awesome to be given this opportunity. I am really excited and can’t wait to kick on and get him there.” She also spoke of her horse, High Kingdom: “He is pretty cool, very relaxed kind of guy. I was really happy with him at Bramham as he had obviously grown up and is improving all the time. He’s pretty pony-like, a nippy little jumper and easy to manoeuvre, so hopefully it will suit him well in Greenwich.” High Kingdom is a 5’6” (16.2 hands) high magnificent bay gelding who, according to Lucy Higginson (editor of the Horse & Hound) has great speed – a definite advantage on the London Olympic course at Greenwich, especially for cross country courses where speed is of paramount importance.
The nomination must be all the more exiting for Zara, since it comes after followed by a long dry spell. The 31-year-old won individual and team gold medals at the 2005 European Eventing Championship in Blenheim, as well as individual gold and team silver medals at 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen (making her the reigning Eventing World Champion until 2010), for which she was awarded an MBE and chosen as BBC Sport Personality of the year. She also managed to win a team gold at the 2007 European Eventing Championship in Italy; however, immediately after that troubles started. Although Zara was selected to compete for the 2008 Beijing Olympics on her trusted Toytown, an exceptional horse with whom she seemed to share an uncanny bond. Unfortunately, Toytown sustained injuries just weeks before the games, forcing Zara to withdraw.
Competing in the Olympics can be said to be in Zara’s blood; her mother, Princess Anne, competed at the 1976 Montreal Games, while her father was a team gold medallist at Munich in 1972, and then won silver in Seoul 16 years later. Zara Phillips has been chosen alongside William Fox-Pitt (with Lionheart), Mary King (with Imperial Cavalier), Piggy French (with Jakata or DHI Topper) and Tina Cook (with Miners Frolic).
Best of luck to Phillips, Fox-Pitt, King, French, and Cook in the upcoming games.Filed under British Royals
Tagged Horses, London 2012, Olympic Games, Sport, Zara Phillips.