Shame on you, Equestrian Australia and the Court of Arbitration in Sport in Switzerland.
Australian dressage rider Hayley Beresford, ranked 111th in the world, was originally excluded and has now lost her appeal to compete as a Team member in the Olympics. In her place, Kristy Oatley, ranked 283, will ride for Australia. Australian newspaper The Age reports that Kristy Oatley hasn’t competed in two years.
That’s not all. In May, Kristy Oatley was granted an exception from competing in one of two compulsory nomination events due to her horse’s illness, a courtesy denied Hayley Beresford in June, when her horse was ill.
The chairman of Equestrian Australia, Paul Cargill, is quoted as saying that he thinks it’s time for the “selected athletes to get on with their job and do their talking where it counts.” I think he should follow his own advice and get on with his job of resigning and apologize.
In contrast to Cargill’s crassness and complete lack of class, Beresford has remained polite and professional. That’s no small feat considering that she’s been robbed of her rightful place on the team. But they used to call them Robber Barons, didn’t they?
They’re having an Oatley festival on the Aussie team, with not one but two Oatleys — Kristy and Lyndal, both granddaughters of billionaire Bob Oatley, who sponsors Grand Prix dressage events and whom Beresford thanked for his sponsorship of the sport.
Kristy and Lyndal’s father Sandy Oatley is quoted as saying, “How can the family influence something like that? I don’t know how. It’s just an impossible thing.”
Yes, it is. An impossible thing. And shame on everyone who took part in making the impossible possible.