Matthew Kitchen, NBC Olympics
We patiently waited for the final scores to tick down the left side of our screen Saturday, as we sipped coffee at a Brooklyn café. Had Rafalca, a horse co-owned by republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, done enough to secure her spot in London this summer? Only time would tell.
Then a 73.800 came up. Ugh. A fine score, sure, but Caletco had just racked up a 77.889 and it must have put some pressure on our favorite horse. We shook our head. We may not know much about the sport (okay, nothing) but we were already pontificating that Rafalca’s half pass right looked a little weak, even if she scored well on the collected trot. Maybe she just didn’t get enough sleep last night.
Our worries subsided when news came that the mighty mare, ridden by Jan Ebeling, had secured the third of four American spots at the Olympics. Victory! And while it’s a bit surreal to live-stream an equestrian event while surrounded by tattooed hipsters, it’s even stranger to be this invested in the outcome. We guess the Olympics does that to people.
Equestrian dressage, referred to by some as “horse ballet,” is a sport we’ve made fun of before, mostly because it’s referred to as “horse ballet.” But much like how we laughed at curling before watching roughly 57 hours of it during the Vancouver Games – yelling at U.S. captain John Shuster the whole time – we imagine we’ll be referring to dressage as “can’t miss” during a lot of intense, awkward conversations this summer.
However, unlike Stephen Colbert, we’re not quite ready to declare it our “Sport of the Summer” (mostly because of our crush on road cyclist Evelyn Stevens) but if anyone at the Gladstone N.J. Trials is putting their “Dressage #1″ foam finger on eBay, we’ll be the first one bidding. Good luck in London, Rafalca. Now go show those other horses a little thing called American grit.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.