USA Equestrian (formerly AHSA) announced today that the World Final of the Samsung Nations Cup Series (Jumping), to be held this weekend in Madrid (ESP) will include representation of the United States. USA Equestrian is the National Equestrian Federation of the United States. The Nations Cup Final will be on Sunday, September 23, 2001.
Riders for the USA are scheduled to be Clare Bronfman (Charlton), Alice Debany Clero (CEO and Loro Piano Jumbo), and Richard Spooner (Robinson FRH and Incento). Debany Clero has been named Chef d'Equipe.
Sherry Frank, Assistant Executive Director-International Services for the Federation, explained, "The United States Equestrian Team last week announced that the riders and horses previously scheduled to compete would not be going, in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. "We were informed of strong interest in the Final by U.S. riders already competing in Europe, as well as our international federation (FEI) and the sponsors and organizers. Everyone wanted to know if a substitute team could be assembled. The FEI, the sponsors, and the organizers were very strong in their view that it was particularly important for the USA to be represented given what had happened, since to do otherwise would appear to be a victory for terrorism."
Frank and Athletes Services representatives, Cindy Stys and Lynn Lopez, immediately started making the necessary contacts, reaching out to all those involved, including USA Equestrian president Alan F. Balch.
"I am heartened and impressed with how thoroughly and quickly everyone responded," said Balch. "Clearly, the U.S. riders in Europe wanted to see our flag flying in the Final, and so did the organizers, sponsors, and the FEI. We were doubtful at first that under the difficult circumstances of travel whether this could be arranged, but everyone has come through. We are particularly grateful for the support of the FEI, and of Samsung, the sponsors, who really made this possible. This is the essence of sporting spirit."
Balch said he was aware of the possibility of controversy about fielding a team in this manner. "Of course, opinions will always differ about the right response in a situation like this. Our job as the National Federation is to maximize opportunities for qualified athletes to represent our country in international competition. When international organizers, our own IF, and the riders themselves take the initiative as they have here, particularly for such an important competition, we owe it to the sport to be responsive and help all we can. My own personal feeling, and their feeling, is that terrorists cannot ever be rewarded for their cowardly acts."
"For me personally it was very important to have the American team here for the global aspect of the World Final of the Samsung Nations Cup Series during this time. We have made a lot of effort for the American team to participate," said Ulf Rosengren, Director of the Samsung Nations Cup Series.