If the rollercoaster ride that is show jumping at the Tokyo Olympic Games is making you dizzy, you’re not alone.
Heading into team qualifying at the Baji Koen Equestrian Park, there will be no less than 15 substitutions across the 19 nations set to compete in the final equestrian competition of these Games.
The updates came at the second horse inspection Thursday evening, as every horse presented was accepted.
The biggest news? McLain Ward is *in*.
After being declared the reserve rider at the First Inspection and sitting out individual competition, Ward and Contagious will replace Kent Farrington and Gazelle in team qualifying. Ward will compete alongside Jessica Springsteen with Don Juan van de Donkhoeve and Laura Kraut with Baloutinue; the U.S. Jumping Team will jump 13th in the start order with an eye toward advancing with the top 10 teams to Saturday’s team final.
“There’s been incredible team spirit internally. All the decisions have been made jointly, and McLain coming in fresh for the team has always been the plan,” said U.S. Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland. “That’s our strategy, and our expectations, of course, are to live another day and move on to the final on Saturday, and we all feel prepared and well-positioned to do that.”
While Team USA will ultimately utilized all of its riders across individual and team competition, Team Israel will not—though that wasn’t initially their plan.
Dani G. Waldman—a pioneer of sorts for Israel in show jumping competition—voiced her frustration ahead earlier in the week when she learned that despite she and her horse being “ready, willing and able,” they would be on the sidelines for individual competition.
Waldman was expected to step in for team competition, but her frustrations grew as her mount Queensland E was found to not be in “top shape,” with veterinarians determining that competing would not in the gelding’s best interests. Waldman will not compete at these Games—the first in which Israel has been represented with a team in the sport of show jumping.
Further changes may be made before the competition begins, but to date, the confirmed pre-competition changes are as follows:
- For Argentina, Fabian Sejanes is out and Matias Albarracin comes in
- For Belgium, Niels Bruynseels is out and Pieter Devos comes in
- For Brazil, Yuri Mansur is out and Pedro Veniss comes in
- For China, You Zhang is out and Yaofeng Li comes in
- For Czech Republic, Kamil Papousek is out and Ondrej Zvara comes in
- For Egypt, Abdel Said is out and Mohamed Talaat comes in
- For France, Mathieu Billot is out and Simon Delestre comes in
- For Great Britain, Scott Brash is out, his horse was withdrawn and therefore not presented, Holly Smith comes in
- For Germany, Christian Kukuk is out and Maurice Tebbel comes in
- For Ireland, Cian O’Connor is out, his horse was withdrawn and therefore not presented, Shane Sweetnam comes in
- For Morocco, Ali Ahrach’s horse USA de Riverland is out and will be replaced by Golden Lady
- For Mexico, Manuel Gonzalez Dufrane is out and Patricia Pasquel comes in
- For New Zealand, Uma O’Neill is out and Tom Tarver-Priebe comes in
- For Switzerland, Beat Mandli is out and Bryan Balsiger comes in
Czech Republic will lead the order of go, followed by China and Japan. Team USA has drawn the lucky 13 spot.
Competition gets underway at 7:00 pm JST, 6:00 am EDT.