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Saturday, August 23, 2008

No Apologies, No Retractions

It has come to my attention that some people with an awful lot of time on their hands have been making disparaging remarks about my blog on at least one chat site (Chronicle Forums). What I have written in this blog and in the media (yes, I'm an accredited Olympic journalist; and just to set the record straight I am a freestyle designer, not a freestyle 'seller') is nothing more or less than my honest opinion, which I freely express as per the general 21st century belief that freedom of expression is an inalienable right. I don't expect everyone to agree with me. If I wanted that I wouldn't write what I write. If there is no dissent, there is no discussion. If there is no discussion, we can just forget about change.

To all you whiny little frown-faces who have preferred scandalized whisperings among yourselves to publicly sharing your thoughts, I invite you to click on the 'comment' option on my blog so that everyone can read what you have to say. And while you're at it, grab yourselves some balls and sign with your real names.

'The people who come and tell me how wonderful it was, I try to say thank you. But the people that tell me something was really wrong, I listen to.' (Joep Bartels, creator of the World Cup Dressage Final and organizer of the Global Dressage Forum)

NOTE: I have actually received a lot of positive feedback and helpful information from people who did not sign their names in comments – if you are one of them, please disregard the paragraph above. It is not meant for you.


Leanne said...

Hi Karen,

I cannot tell you how much we here enjoy your blogs. It is refreshing to find someone who will tell it like it is and not be afraid to do so. I think you are spot on with your comments and couldn't agree with you more.
P.S. Great article on Dressage Daily. Loved it!

Jean said...

I don't post at the Chronicle, but I have been following the discussions there.

It seems to be a "mixed bag" of reactions to your analysis. So it has not all been negative. Just so you know.

I, for one, have thoroughly enjoyed your commentary and agreed with what you said. I didn't do the math on the scoring as you did, but found that even if Steffen had been penalized for his two tempis at the same value as Isabel had for a major blowup, it still would not have made up the difference for a medal.

As I have commented elsewhere, what bothers me most is Riexinger's lame explanation for the scoring. I THOUGHT, (foolish as I may be) that all good judges had a standard of perfection for each exercise firmly implanted in their heads, and with it a firm set of deductions for how far a performance deviated from that perfection.

To my mind, blowing the first part of the two tempis and finishing the rest, is far less serious than refusing to piaffe, rearing, bucking, and backing. And since the other piaffes of that test were certainly not "10's" I find it hard to average any kind of score over a 4 for that movement. (Closer to what Steffen earned for his tempis.) And, considering that such an evasion was a major disobedience, it should also have been reflected in the "harmony" section of the score. (Where did those "8's" some from???)

I have been riding dressage for quite a while and while I have only trained and competed up to I1, I know I have been really penalized by judges for disobediences much less severe than the one we saw. Those penalites were, to me, perfectly justified. I would have hoped Olympic judging would at least meet the standards of judging here in New Jersey, USA.

Guess not. There seems to be a "special" aura some venues/riders/horses wear on the International scene.

Such a shame. I had been so looking forward to seeing the Olympic rides and now, I'm left with a sour taste about the whole thing.

Side note: Still remember Michele Gibson losing a medal from one spook in the freestyle in Atlanta....I was there and it was so sad.

Thanks again. I really appreciate an inside view from someone who saw it all live.

Jean Dvorak, New Jersey, USA

Dane Rawlins said...

Hi Karen

I have really enjoyed your blog. I agree with you that everyone should speak openly and freely. The trouble is that many of those with vested interests, with a very few exceptions will use honest comment in our sport as a reason the villify individuals. They often hve great success in excluding 'troublemakers' from our sport or at least inhibiting their competition success. As you say this is rarely if ever done to a persons face, but more clandestinly. We have serious problems with our current system of judging. this is for me more a problem with the system than most of the judges, most of whome I would count as friends of mine there are several of us trying to change this but we will only succeed with open and forensic research. The Ice skaters were forced to Change in Salt Lake. We must do it urgently or risk our sport being removed from the Olympics. If we do not openly change and improve with drastic steps, we will remain as only have a fashion show, not a sport. Certainly, at least, not a sport, Whereby if you are 'in' you get away with murder. Come on guys lets accept being smaller fish in a much bigger pond. then the sport will improve and thrive. dane Rawlins Hickstead England

Amanda said...

Karen I thoroughly enjoy your blog and am glad that you are expressing the opinions you do - judging gaffes certainly won't be covered by the cbc!
I'm looking forward to your posts about the showjumping where we were so successful, it'll be great to have a canadian perspective!

Ali said...

Have Not followed the critism on your blogs but I have a few critical comments to add to your bundle growing. Firstly ..I do have balls!! And you can say what you want I could give a shit. Not afraid to put the balls out there and identify myself. Here is my question for you want a picture of them to post too? Would go well and in line with the rest your posting! I think your pictures are rude, insensitiveand inappropriate for the hero's your discussing in the blog. .
Your lack of taste and respect I find disappointing and negatively portrayed in the photograhpy.
Get the pun(s) but hate the pictures.
Yes Ian Millar certainly felt the pressure of his final round to win the Silver medal in the heat and humidity ..but do you have to post a picture of him looking like a sweating dog? Lovely !! He was the hero the gave us a SIlver Medal and you a job to be here. You did him no honor or justice with that picture!!! No wonder the Jumpeing Team happen to skip the press interviews you request!

Then there is Hickstead... the most Amazing horse of the OG Individual Show Jumping Competition lining up excited having just won a desrving Gold Medal for Canada with Eric Lamaze with breathtaking double clear rounds. A "Lamazing" acheivement...

You chose to picture him with his Penis fully erect in the medal ceremonies??? Charming...just what the world wants to see! YEs he is a stallion but don't need to advertise with a dick shot at the podium thank you very much. Come on Karen....low blows.. Poor taste ...actually a little disgusting. I could care less what you say but pay attention to what you pic. Show a Touch of Class. The Russian mafia may shoot you !

Blogger Karen said...

Hi Ali - I am sorry you are upset by the photos. I guess you and I have different understandings of what a blog should be. Fab sports photos are available in great proliferation in all media, as are 'polite' reports (and BTW Ian actually gave me a great interview, the outcome of which appeared in my profile which appeared in last WEd's papers.). A blog for me is a place where I can share my frank thoughts in a way that wouldn't be appropriate in the printed articles I write. I hope that when you read any of the more formal articles I wrote you will find my tone sufficiently admiring. No one was more excited by the performaces of our SJ team and of Eric and Hickstead than I.

Anyhoo, let me tell you here that I am always filled with admiration for your commitment to the sport, and especially as chef. And I hope that with the honest and open dialogue, we will still be friends.


V said...

Look quick, 'cause it may not last...but you are redeemed on COTH :-)...Beijing forum. I am one who has enjoyed your blog throughout...Thanks

Nat said...

Hi Karen

A big "GRACIAS" all the way from Spain for sharing with us, within the limited privacy of your blog, your personal opinnions about what went on at the Olympics. Some readers out there may not always agree with you but in the spirit of fairness, all of them ought to be thank you for bringing the Olympics a bit closer to us, unlucky souls, that couldn't make it all the way to China. Reading your blog is just as being metres away from the ring. In this you are the virtual "judge" and therefore bound to be utterly criticised by some onlookers and totally endorsed by others.
Sunny regards from Mallorca

Anonymous said...

So are you not going to post about the rest of the showjumping?