presented by Gaitpost Magazine

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Welcome to the Hog Blog!

In exactly one week I will be arriving in Hong Kong, no doubt a bit bleary eyed from the flight, but in time for the cross country course walk, eventing vet inspection and whatever opening ceremonies are deemed not-too-wonderful to overshadow the official opening in Beijing. Mine is just one of many, many blogs that you can find on line over the next several weeks, though of course I’d like to think you are currently reading the best of the bunch. EVERYONE is blogging these games. There has never been more hype or anticipation since I began covering major championships. I think the Hong Kong organizers turned a potential problem to their advantage, with never-ending press releases about weather web sites (yes they have a dedicated web site to give up-to-the-minute details on weather at both Sha Tin and the cross country venue at Beas River), a 37 million Hong Kong dollar (roughly $5 million US or Cdn) horse waste disposal system, and an announcement that Sha Tin’s 100% increase in air pollution earlier this week had no adverse effects on the horses. The equestrian world is in a lather of expectation of a great event….instead of dread about heat and humidity. In addition to all the official media out there, both the Canadian dressage chef d’equipe Ali Buchanan and Canadian Equestrian Team Leader Mike Gallagher have been sending daily missives to everyone on their email lists. Which leads me to my explanation of the name of this blog.

A few months ago the media received a set of blogging guidelines from the IOC. Since blogging is so new, the guidelines are unprecedented. They are also very strict. And a little bit confusing. Mike Gallagher initially believed he was not allowed to put up a blog, and for some reason said it must be to protect the accredited media. Huh Mike? But he has apparently been disabused of that notion because has put his emails up as a blog. If I am a naughty girl and dare to say anything negative on this blog, I could lose my accreditation and be sent home. That’s more than a talking-to, or even a spanking. So I decided to be extra careful. Nowhere in my blog will you read the magic “O” word. No, not that “O” word, the one that names the greatest athletic show on earth. Instead I came up with the acronym HOG. The “H” is for Hong Kong, and the “O” and “G” are for that other name that shan’t be sullied here.

Not that I plan to do any sullying. I too am in an absolute lather of anticipation for these O…oops I almost wrote it. Check in here over the next days as I pack my bag – lots of sunscreen, no socks – and head to Hong Kong for what is sure to be the best equestrian event ever run, and a thrilling battle for medals in all three disciplines.

Joi gin!