France is hosting its first-ever World Equestrian Games this year, and the organizers launched the event on Saturday, Aug. 23, with a spectacular opening ceremony.
Laurent Beauvais, president of the Games Organizing Committee, and FEI President Princess Haya each addressed the sellout crowd of more than 20,000 spectators before the main event. Both thanked the 3,000 volunteers who are integral to keeping the event running smoothly.
“Over the next 16 days, we will see many amazing and inspiring performances in all eight FEI disciplines,” said Princess Haya. “On behalf of everyone here tonight, and everyone around the world who will enjoy these seventh World Equestrian Games, I want to thank the people of Normandy who so warmly welcomed us to this beautiful region.
“And of course, I want to thank all of the athletes who have come to Normandy to pursue their dreams,” she added. “You are at the pinnacle of your sport; you have earned the right to be here through your hard work and dedication.”
“As you each approach your individual competitions, I ask you to reflect for a moment on the emblem that was developed especially for these 2014 games,” Princess Haya continued. “This emblem illustrates the divine harmony of a respectful relationship between horse and human. Its emerald color nods to the rolling hills of our generous host region while the white pulsing through it represents the values of fairness and transparency at the heart of the games.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was on hand at d’Ornano Stadium to officially announce the 2014 WEG open.
Competition begins with dressage and reining kicking off on Monday, Aug. 25 at 8:00 a.m. local time (2:00 a.m. Eastern Time.) In the U.S., all of the WEG competition can be viewed live and on-demand at FEITV.org (requires paid subscription.) View the full schedule at Normandy2014.com.
Keep up with all the 2014 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games news at HorseChannel.com/Normandy2014.
Leslie Potter is Sr. Associate Web Editor for HorseChannel.com. Follow her on Twitter: @LeslieInLex