A cohesive sports team is typically characterized by a high level of mutual respect, admiration, shared goals, and a driven work ethic. And, if you’re on the American Olympic dressage team, a daily group hug.
1. They’re like a family
For the past three months, the US dressage team has been competing together in Europe as they prepared for the Rio Games. “They live together, eat together, care about each other, and about the success of each other. They take care of each other when things aren’t good,” said chef d'equipe Robert Dover. "That’s what’s so wonderful about them."
2. A family that actually likes being with one another
“We’ve been together for three months, and there wasn’t a single incident where I said, gosh, you know, this is getting a little bit long, this is a tough time. There was so much camaraderie—every single show,” gushed Steffen Peters.
3. In training, they're together all. the. time.
“It doesn’t matter if we train at 6:30 in the morning. Every single team member is there,” says Peters.
4. That’s just the way this dream team rolls
“We are an incredibly cohesive group, the four of us,” says Allison Brock. “We all have each other’s backs. Everybody is committed to bringing their best game forward."
5. Laura even does their hair!
Laura Graves' brief stint as a hairdresser is paying dividends on the road, especially for her teammates Kasey Perry-Glass and Dover. "My sister is also a hairdresser," said Perry-Glass. "She was like, ‘I was looking in your pictures to see if you had roots or anything, and you didn’t!’ I was like, ‘Yeah, Laura did my hair.’"
6. So it comes as no surprise that they’re a rather affectionate group
“Every day we come to the barn there’s a big group hug,” reveals Peters. “I’m just so honored to be with those young girls on the team. It’s just incredible.
7. Because at the end of the day, they just can’t say enough good things about each other
“Team has many different meanings,” says Graves. “Here [in Rio], we get to be Team USA, which is really special. We have the team of our horses and the team of ourselves, and our trainers, friends, and family. Then we have each other. I could not ask to be here with a better group of people."
The only way the US Dressage Team could show more Olympic spirit is if they got matching neck tattoos.
Stay up to date with our on-the-ground coverage of the 2016 Olympics!
Follow Horse Network’s Performance Editor, Carley Sparks, live from Rio. And for even more behind-the-scenes action from the ground, follow us on Twitter.