10.30.18

State of the Games 2018 – Short Version – No 2022 Games

Posted in 2018 Games, 2022 Games, 2026, Tryon at 9:28 pm by Thomas

It’s been 8 years since Kentucky hosted the Games and the question I keep getting is will we get the Games again.  I am of course optimistic that we will though the clock is running because the longer we wait, we loose the benefits of previously hosting them.  When I say them most people figure I am talking the capital investments in that people feel for these kind of events you have to have brand new facilities. I disagree a bit with that assessment but the bigger loss is in personal capital, the people involved in planning the event and all those involved in the actual event, including an army of volunteers that was trained.  Certainly the loss of Dr. Lyons early this year was a blow in many ways but there are certainly other Kentuckians who can pick up that torch and carry it so I certainly don’t see his loss as something that should prevent us from ever hosting the Games again, and I am sure he would be disappointed in a number of us if that was ever to be the case.  I said this was going to be the short version, so let me get to where I see the Games since the Games at Tryon have completed.

I will say right off the bat that the Games at Tryon did not go as I had hoped.  It has always been important to me that the Games be successful no matter where they were held.  This has never been a competition between Lexington and any other host city, this has always been a hope that the next Games would build on the prior.  That Lexington learned from Aachen and then Normandy learned from Lexington and Tryon learned from Normandy and so on and so on.  In my mind that is a key component to how I judge the success of any particular set of Games.  In general I believe Aachen, Lexington and Normandy were a success in that the overall sentiment was positive and you had that sense of building something.  Now before everyone assumes I am going to say Tryon was not a success and that I am going to pile on to the negative press that did arise from these Games, I am not.  It serves no purpose in what I want to accomplish which is the continuation of the Games and the desire to bring the Games back to Kentucky.  With that said, let me layout where we are and where we need to go from here.

The first thing everyone needs to remember is that Tryon was not the original host and certainly to get into that would not make this the short version of what I wanted to provide.  The reason I bring that up is because if Tryon hadn’t stepped in there may of not been a Games at all but in doing so Tryon was taking on hosting a highly complex event in what was really too short of a time frame.  The leadership at Tryon had to be optimistic about what they were promising because to be realistic would of cost them the support to have probably pulled off what they did, which at some level was a bit of a miracle.  Now with that said, I will say there were some areas where I think the leadership may have believed their own optimistic PR and didn’t really plan with reality in mind.  In those cases I will say they over promised and under delivered and I will not excuse them of that.   I am actually going to stop there because my real interest is in where this leaves us going forward.

First I think the FEI needs to have a real hard look at itself and determine if they as an organization have the passion to provide the leadership that is needed for the WEG to continue.  Now I am sure a few of you that know me are saying, WTF, that I would suggest that the WEG is not viable because of the FEI, actually, I can’t and I am not saying that, only the FEI can make that determination and it has to on the basis of what is best for the individual sports and those involved.  The situation with Endurance is a clear example and there is no way to spin that, that doesn’t leave the sport of Endurance in a tough spot because of some real harm that was done to the sport and I think that will take some time and effort to repair.

As of now no host for the 2022 Games has been selected and this presents a significant challenge for a pair of reasons.  The obvious of course is the same problem Tryon found themselves in, lack of time.  When Kentucky won the Games early in December of 2005 that gave us a little less then 5 years to get everything done, but what a lot of people never realize is how much planning had already been done at the one of a kind facility that the Kentucky Horse Park already was.  The second reason is that who ever would host the 2022 Games has lost the chance to really get a behind the scenes look at the running of the actual event while its going on and you are actually able to take your initial plan and do some simulations against a real event in real time.

So where does that leave us, my recommendation would be that we take a break and not have the Games in 2022 with the intent to make the 2026 Games a true showcase of what Equestrian Sport is, a sport like no other, because no other sport involves the relationship of two life forces like that of a human and a horse.

I appreciate all of you who took the time to read my short version.

Kentucky Colonel
Thomas P. Demond
KyWEGO®