Day 1 began with the usual minor glitches and bumps in the road for us in the NBC studios. It’s the first official day for all sports here in Stamford, so kinks needed to be ironed out. Equestrian has a terrific and experienced team. Our producer Amy Zimmerman and play-by-play Randy Moss work all the horse racing productions for NBC, including the Triple Crown series and the Breeders Cup. Jamie Saults, our statistician, has worked all the summer Olympics since 1984.
Originally it was thought we would be doing all the commentary on the live feed but instead we were able to watch and enjoy until time for the NBC TV broadcast. With limited air time, only selected riders from each country are shown. In the live streaming, commentators are able to focus more on the technicalities of each test for an equestrian audience. On the segments we voice for the NBC TV broadcast, we are reminded to imagine a broader audience that may not know anything about the sport. The focus is on the personal stories of the horses and riders and the sport in general.
It was so special to see the rides of William Fox-Pitt who leads at this point and Olympic champions Michael Jung and Mark Todd. I believe Team USA will have a better day tomorrow and move up in the standings heading into Cross Country. The general consensus is that the cross country course will decide the medals. Phillip Dutton commented that it appears to be the most difficult test since Sydney in 2000. Mark Todd went a step further in saying, “It’s the toughest cross country test since Los Angeles in 1984.” It sounds like a doozy!
One more day of Eventing Dressage and then on to the “heart” of the competition!
The wall as we walk into the NBC Sports studios – these are the Olympics NBC has done.