Olympic Opening Ceremony Spectacular, Eventing Opens Equestrian Events Saturday
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
LONDON, July 27–After a spectacular opening ceremoy, equestrian events start at the Olympic Games Saturday, with eventing dressage first on the schedule in the 23,000-seat stadium at Greenwich Park overlooking London.
The opening ceremony was a mix of pageantry and humor decidely British and a musical parade of the history of the nation hosting the XXX Olympiad that also marks 100 years of equestrian sports in the Olympics.
At Greenwich Park earlier Friday, the public was not allowed in to the venue for the veterinary inspecation because most of the thousands of troops providing security for these Games were assigned to the main stadium for Friday night’s opening ceremony.
At the athlete’s parade in the opening ceremony, the flag bearers leaing two nation were equestrians–Rodrigo Pessoa for Brazil and Rolf-Goran Bengtsson for Sweden.
Australian dressage became the center of late-night television humor when the popular Hamish and Andy show performed a spoof with Lynda Oatley, who led the nation’s qualifying for the team. Dressage became the butt of several sketches on U.S. nationwie television leading up te Games.
To watch Lyndal and Hamish & Andy, click here.
Eventing kicks off Satturday with two days of dressage.
However, dozens of photographers recorded the occasion, especially the appearance of Great Britain’s Zara Phillips with her High Kingdom that was held in front of the Queen’s House which overlooks the stadium. Zara is the daughter of Princess Anne of Britain’s royal family, and Mark Phillips, coach of the United States eventing team.
Germany’s non-traditional outfits have prompted comments.