Paralympics Countdown #4: cycling and equestrian

Apologies for the hiatus, folks. After the Festival of Quilts I got hit with a bout of full-blown, no-avoiding fatigue, and while I'm still not quite back to normal, I at least feel today that my brain is my own again.

So with only 6 days to go, I thought I'd do a slightly quicker skim through the remaining sports, starting with riding ones – cycling and equestrian.

Team GB do pretty well at both sports, in general, and the Paralympic team is no exception, winning 17 medals in cycling Beijing, and expected to do pretty well this year as well. The Classifications in Cycling include one for partially sighted athletes, who compete on tandems with a sighted guide in front. Those who would normally use a wheelchair generally use a hand-cycle, and there are also categories for tricycles as well as traditional bikes. The Cycling events are the same as in the Olympics – road races, time trials and relays on the road; pursuits and sprints on the track. I've found the Telegraph guides to be useful, mostly because I love me a good illustration. Definitely check them out.

This is definitely one I'll be catching up on rather than watching live – Cycling is always pretty exciting to watch, just for the speed if nothing else, and I couldn't take the tension last month. But I'm looking forward to seeing it – the road racers always amaze me the most, I think. They cycle over 100km (200 for men) and still have breath for the post-race interview? Now that's pretty amazing.

For the equestrian event, dressage is the thing, which I think was a suprise hit when we suddenly started winning medals in the Olympics, and everyone was captivated by the dancing horses! Paralympic equestrianism has a different sort of classification system, in that all competitors perform the same event, with their classification being taken into account for their final points score. There are team and individual events, the same as in the Olympics, and 11 gold medals up for grabs. As in the Olympics, we have a good track record in equestrianism – sorry, did I say good track record? I mean we have won every team gold since the event started. Sounds like pretty good going to me!

And just in case they just look like dancing horses (which they do to me!) this guide in the Telegraph has all you need to know. Apparently there's a bit more to it than that…


2 thoughts on “Paralympics Countdown #4: cycling and equestrian

  1. I enjoy the equestrianism best. What struck me from the main Olympics was how many of the riders had recovered from spinal injuries themselves – broken backs, broken necks etc!

    As for the dancing horses, dressage came out of the training of horses for war since medieval times. They had to be strong, supple, obedient and also to perform some things which are not in normal dressage, like the Spanish Riding School in Vienna do, such as rearing and kicking out behind them. Some of the dancing type steps were probably more for the parade ground.


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