The Unsung Heroes of the Olympic Games - The Equestrian Press

By Mary Phelps

We at would like to thank our 2002 Athens Olympic Team. Diana DeRosa, photo journalist who has been a colleague for over 30 years, and Canada’s Cealy Tetley, a brilliant and talented photographer, who has been documenting almost every horse and rider team of the Games.

It's never easy, with slow modems, long hot days, long distances between venues, and challenging working conditions. And it took teamwork to convert their stories into code, and upload images into the newly developed database. This was done by our euro-partner Astrid Appels, our office manager Tracey Scharf, and our web assistant Penny Peck. Be sure to read Diana’s feature article “A Day in Our Lives” as she describes what it is like to be part of the Olympic Equestrian Press.

Brian Sosby and Maria Partlow of the The United States Equestrian Federation have been chronicling each American victory with creative, colorful writing and Diana’s images, sending daily e-mails to USEF members. They are responsible for the clips on NBC prime time news, a Herculean accomplishment for the sport, and they deserve a big ‘thank you’ for keeping us informed.

As a long time member of the International Alliance of Equestrian Journalists (IAEJ) I have been covering international events since the 1982 World Championships, which was before they were all in one country. We went to Lausanne Switzerland, for Dressage, and then traveled to Luhmuhlen, Germany for Eventing.

It was there a camaraderie began with fellow members the international equestrian press; journalists and photographers from around the world who all share the same passion and love for the sport. The work involved is intense and painful. The hours are long, with difficult working conditions and often done at their own expense. Rarely do they make back their investment of flight, hotel, and equipment expenses involved. Because of them magazines have stories to tell and photos to show, and now with the internet, the pressure is even greater, as it is necessary to get the information and images out as soon as the event is over. The winners are the public who hunger for news often not televised, moments in time which would never be shared if not for the efforts of this dedicated and talented group of individuals who have been comrades now for over 30 years.

But it is all worth it. There is nothing like experiencing the roar of the crowd, sharing the tears and joys of their fellow countrymen as they win and lose by mere percentage points. Being so close to action is the best earned ticket of the event, hearing the rhythmical breathing of the horses, and watching moments of jubilation and disappointment up close and personal as no one else can experience. And the horses, the greatest horses in the world gallop, passage, and splash before your eyes, often close enough to see into their souls through their large deep and expressive eyes.

Be sure to visit our Related Links on our Olympic Index to visit the websites of some of our colleagues, and follow the journal of our friend Maureen Crump who is sharing with us her stories and images as an American spectator in Athens. And make sure to order your Olympic Videos now and get free shipping from Horse TV, due out in October, so you can watch the highlights of the action our friends of the press got to experience up close and personal.

Finally a thank you to our sponsors, Markel Insurance, whose support has helped us finance this endeavor helping our team by making a contribution to the costs! "On the Scene" at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games