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Okay, so equestrian sports, for most SI readers who spend most of their time following their favorite football/basketball/baseball teams, probably elicits the same response as professional ping pong: we shrug our shoulders and say, "What?" Everyone probably knows by now that ping pong, China's national sport, is going to be a big deal at the upcoming Olympics so that shoulder-shrugging dismissal of the sport ain't gonna happen this time around...but I fear that many sports fans who don't normally follow the equestrian events will miss out on what is shaping up to be a wildly successful Olympic competition in Hong Kong. The powerful Hong Kong Jockey Club has gone all out to turn the Sha Tin horse-racing track into a first-rate equestrian complex for eventing and dressage; the cross-country competition will be held at Beas River, a refurbished golf course in the northern part of Hong Kong, close to the border with mainland China. All indications are that Hong Kong is working towards a great Olympic outing and the match of the city to the equestrian events is nearly perfect: HK is a big-time horse-racing town and so the Jockey Club knows exactly how to take care of horses when they're being imported (quarantine is essential). At the same time, the Hong Kong Olympic representatives tell me this is the first time Hong Kong will host any type of equestrian competition, so they're doing everything they can to educate the public about the sport in advance of the Olympics. For lots of reasons (not the least that Hong Kong, as a separate government from mainland China, has quite a bit of autonomy in how their Olympic events are organized), this will be a fascinating Olympics in which to pay attention to the equestrian events.

USOC Equestrian home page 

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