Olympic Hopeful: McLain Ward

Show jumping rider McLain Ward talks jumping advice and lucky charms.


McLain Ward, Olympic hopeful, show jumping, Winter Equestrian Festival, 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

Photo by Kenneth Kraus, Phelps Sports

McLain Ward | Wellington

Discipline Show jumping

Olympic Bid Longines FEI World Cup Jumping qualifier winner; gold medalist at 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games; team member at 2012 Olympic Games; silver medalist at 2006 World Equestrian Games; gold medalist at 2011 Pan American Games; competitor in 14 FEI World Cup Finals.

Golden Dreams I’ve already won two Olympic gold medals, but to represent my country for the fourth time would be a dream come true.

Best in Show No one powerhouse dominates [at show jumping]. It’s constantly evolving, and even the less-experienced countries have a good chance there.

Horse Sense These top horses have an ego and take pleasure in the jobs they do. They understand there’s something special about them, and they enjoy being important.

Girls vs. Boys There’s no division between men and women in this sport. Some riders manage with power, others with finesse, but at the end of the day, the power comes from the horse.

Jumping Advice First, you have to choose the life. You can work toward the Olympics, but if you don’t get there it’s not a failure. It’s a worthy journey.

McLain Ward, Olympic hopeful, show jumping, Winter Equestrian Festival, 2016 Rio Summer Olympics

McLain Ward. | Photo by Kenneth Kraus, Phelps Sports

Speaking Portuguese: (Laughing) I would say, “Which way to the podium?”

Lucky Charm: I think everybody has some superstitions. I always put on my left boot first and use a new safety pin in my tie every time I ride. That’s my routine.

Greatest Recent Accomplishment: Winning the World Cup qualifiers in Toronto

Side Story: It’s one of those sports that, when it’s done well, it looks very easy. But in reality, it’s not because you’re working with another living, breathing animal.

Travel Companions: My horses are seasoned travelers and they’re experienced with it. But like people, they have to deal with stress and time changes so we have to be aware of that and manage it accordingly.

Winner’s Circle: The challenge is within yourself and the course. If we live up to our potential, she (horse) and I can be right there at the end.


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