Posted Date: May 9, 2008
It's game time! By Janet Gauntt
The team reported to the stadium this morning at 8:00am for the official team photo. Full uniform was required for that and for the opening ceremonies; after that the full uniform is optional until the closing ceremonies on Sunday.
The opening ceremonies showed 10 countries participating this year (Belgium, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Spain, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Russian Federation, and United States). Rumor has it that three more countries - France, Ireland, and possibly Italy - submitted their applications too late to participate this year.
There are two rings at this year's competition, operating alternately. First up in Ring 1 was the Power and Speed class. This operated much the same as we are used to in the States with one exception: the power section had a designed course flow and refusals were counted against you. As usual with Power and Speed, you had to be fault-free in the Power section to be able to advance to the Speed section.
The midi and maxi teams stand by for their Power and Speed walkthough as the toy and minis walk.
|The midi/maxi Power and Speed walkthough.|
|Team USA was off to a rocky start at first. Of the small dogs, only Dana Pike and Tangle were firmly in command during the Power section and/or the following Speed section. Things started to stabilize as the large dogs came up and Stuart Mah and Qwik and Rachel Sanders and Fable laid down runs that took them to the podium.|
Elizabeth and Hemi performing the Aframe in the Power and Speed class while judge Cathy Slot of Australia looks on.
During the next class, Individual Standard, the team continued to settle into this positive pattern as Mike Murphy and Bailey and Suzanne Wesley and Sonic began to earn medals as well. Mike and Bailey's first place earned our first playing of the U.S. national anthem. The team definitely thanks Guy Blancke for the version of the anthem we are using (it's a long story)! Guy, by the way, is the official videographer for the events and will be posting clips of the event at http://smoothmovesagility.com
At this point, we had finally developed a good rhythm for managing the team: Coach Stacy stayed ringside and made sure that all the team members were ready for their run. Walkie-Talkies were used to coordinate between the ring, crating area, and group cheering section.
The last class of the day was the first class in the Biathlon. This is a two-round competition consisting of a Jumpers round followed by a Standard round. No placements were awarded out of today's Jumpers class; instead this score (time plus faults) will be added to tomorrow's Biathlon Standard class (also time plus faults) to produce a single score for the Biathlon. Official scores will not be released until tomorrow morning; however team dogs that appear to be placed well so far are Bailey, Tangle, Sonic, Jib, Fizz, Ski, Qwik, Fable, and Slick as they all had strong clear rounds.
Mike Murphy and Bailey in their winning run in the Individual Standard class.
|Kate Moureaux and Driven completing jump #17 of the Biathlon Jumpers course.|
Suzanne Wesley and Sonic near the beginning of a blazingly fast Biathlon Jumpers run.
Stuart Mah and Qwik neatly execute the turn after the long jump on the challenging 6-7-8-9 sequence of the Biathlon Jumpers course while Belgium judge Walter Casier looks on.
By the Biathlon Jumpers class, we finally had to acknowledge a sad fact: Elizabeth Evans and Hemi are not going to be able to compete this weekend. Hemi had exhibited some slight lameness due to a sore toe going into the Wednesday practice session. Despite rest, ice, massage and other measures, it became clear today that Hemi is not sound enough to run. Elizabeth and Hemi are always an exciting team to watch and both Elizabeth and the rest of the team are quite disappointed at this turn of events. We all wish for a speedy recovery and hope to see them again at future international events.
All pictures courtesy of Karen Moureaux www.dogsportphotos.com.