Pan American Games Nations Cup Kicks Off With Brazil First To Go USA Last, But No Broadcast Or Online TV
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
PALGRAVE, Ontario, July 10, 2015–The Pan American Games dressage Nations Cup kicks off Saturday with Brazil first to go in the unique competition of mixed Big and Small Tour horses and riders and the final ride by the powerful United States that is favored to capture gold and the sole 2016 Olympic start through these hemispheric championships held only once every four years.
But the dressage and eventing competitions will not be shown either on television or streaming on the Internet by the official broadcaster, even in Canada.
Teams from 10 nations and six individuals will compete in the two-phase Nations Cup starting with the Prix St. Georges and the Grand Prix Saturday and the Intermediate 1 and Grand Prix Special to decide the medals on Sunday.
Brazil’s Leandro Aparecido da Silva on Di Caprio at small tour will be the first ride of both days at 9 a.m. local (US ET) and Steffen Peters on Legolas, the seventh ranked combination in the world, will wrap up each day of competition.
A total of 43 pairs–34 at Small Tour and nine at Big Tour will start. Teams are from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, the United States and Venezuela with individuals from Bermuda, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Honduras, Puerto Rico and Uruguay.
Teams comprise a minimum of three combinations and a maximum of four with the top three scores counting.
The introduction of Grand Prix into the team format for the first time at a Pan Ams with a maximum of two Big Tour pairs per team is designed to raise the level of dressage in the Americas. Grand Prix combinations will each receive a “bonus” of 1.5 per cent for each of the team competition scores. No bonus points will be awarded for individual medals.
Although the official broadcaster–the public broadcaster CBC/Radio Canada boasts of providing 750 hours of coverage of the Pan Ams as the second largest multi-sport event in the world after only the Olympics, dressage and eventing are not on the schedule, though jumping is.
Equestrian sports were among the fastest to sell out of tickets for the three Olympic disciplines in the 4,000-seat Caledon Pan Am venue and Canada is one of four nations with a mixed Big and Small Tour team along with Argentina, Mexico and the United States.
The decision by the host broadcaster and the top-heavy bureaucracy organizing the Pan Ams has been criticized both internally and from some participating nations, athletes and fans who will not be able to watch any dressage either on standard broadcast television or streaming on the Internet.
Media such as this correspondent must sign an undertaking as a condition of accreditation not to video any competition as that would be a violation of the host broadcaster’s rights, common in major events such as Olympics.
However, Olympic broadcasters typically include equestrian sports in their schedules.
“It is a total embarrassment and travesty that dressage is not at the very least being live streamed no less televised on ESPN.as is the case with jumping here at the Pan American Games,” said Robert Dover, the United States Technical Advisor/Chef d’Equipe who rode on American teams at six Olympics.
“These athletes have come from all over the hemisphere with family and friends not able to see them compete in what could be the biggest or one and only major championships of their lives. Very sad.”