Equestrian rider Fox-Pitt leads 10 months after fall from horse

Trevor Holt/ Burghley Horse Trials via Getty Images
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The Rio Olympics are filled with stories of athletes who have managed to overcome various obstacles in order to earn the opportunity to compete on the world’s greatest stage. But in the case of Great Britain’s William Fox-Pitt, his trek to Rio was one few expected him to make due to a traumatic accident suffered during the World Young Horse Championships in France last October. Fox-Pitt fell from his horse during the cross country competition, suffering head trauma that led to doctors placing him in an induced coma.

Fox-Pitt faced an arduous rehabilitation process, and few expected him to be able to represent his nation in the Summer Olympics. But Fox-Pitt beat the odds, and through the first day of competition at the equestrian venue he leads the eventing individual dressage competition with a score of 37.00. Despite having to re-learn many of the “basic” physical activities we tend to take for granted Fox-Pit was back in the saddle two months after the injury, and he returned to competition in mid-May.

Fox-Pitt said: “After the accident, I lost a lot of strength as you would imagine.

“I couldn’t pick up my child, I couldn’t walk up the stairs, I couldn’t walk to the stables.

“My body completely deteriorated, I couldn’t drive for six months.

“In the two weeks in which I was unconscious, I lost 12kg. It has been quite the journey.”

Fox-Pitt also had a lot to do in his recovery when it came to his eyesight. There were visits with a specialist to help correct his vision, a key attribute for any athlete to have much less one expected to guide an equine through a course with few mistakes.

Four months of his recovery time included twice weekly visits to Bournemouth eye specialist Dr Shayler to correct his vision.

He said: “I was his project. He had to retrain my eyes to be straight again and be focused not be blurred. In the beginning I had double vision, and I couldn’t see very well.

“It did affect my riding. I could ride on the flat, but jumping was tricky. One fence suddenly became four, and I didn’t know which one we were jumping until the last minute!”

Riding Chilli Morning, Fox-Pitt will look to win his first Olympic medal on Sunday at the equestrian venue.

Paris 2024 Olympic marathon route unveiled

Paris 2024 Olympic Marathon
Paris 2024
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The 2024 Olympic marathon route will take runners from Paris to Versailles and back.

The route announcement was made on the 233rd anniversary of one of the early, significant events of the French Revolution: the Women’s March on Versailles — “to pay tribute to the thousands of women who started their march at city hall to Versailles to take up their grievances to the king and ask for bread,” Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet said.

Last December, organizers announced the marathons will start at Hôtel de Ville (city hall, opposite Notre-Dame off the Seine River) and end at Les Invalides, a complex of museums and monuments one mile southeast of the Eiffel Tower.

On Wednesday, the rest of the route was unveiled — traversing the banks of the Seine west to the Palace of Versailles and then back east, passing the Eiffel Tower before the finish.

The men’s and women’s marathons will be on the last two days of the Games at 8 a.m. local time (2 a.m. ET). It will be the first time that the women’s marathon is held on the last day of the Games after the men’s marathon traditionally occupied that slot.

A mass public marathon will also be held on the Olympic marathon route. The date has not been announced.

The full list of highlights among the marathon course:

• Hôtel de ville de Paris (start)
• Bourse de commerce
• Palais Brongniart
• Opéra Garnier
• Place Vendôme
• Jardin des Tuileries
• The Louvre
• Place de la Concorde
• The bridges of Paris
(Pont de l’Alma; Alexandre III;
Iéna; and more)
• Grand Palais
• Palais de Tokyo
• Jardins du Trocadéro
• Maison de la Radio
• Manufacture et Musées
nationaux de Sèvres
• Forêt domaniale
des Fausses-Reposes
• Monuments Pershing –
Lafayette
• Château de Versailles
• Forêt domaniale de Meudon
• Parc André Citroën
• Eiffel Tower
• Musée Rodin
• Esplanade des Invalides (finish)

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International Boxing Association lifts ban on Russia, Belarus

Boxing gloves
Getty
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The International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted its ban on amateur boxers from Russia and Belarus over the war in Ukraine that had been in place since early March.

“The IBA strongly believes that politics shouldn’t have any influence on sports,” the federation said in a press release. “Hence, all athletes should be given equal conditions.”

Most international sports federations banned athletes from Russia and Belarus indefinitely seven months ago, acting after an IOC recommendation. It is believed that the IBA is the first international federation in an Olympic sport to lift its ban.

The IOC has not officially changed its recommendation from last winter to exclude Russia and Belarus athletes “to protect the integrity of the events and the safety of the other participants.”

Last week, IOC President Thomas Bach said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that Russian athletes who do not endorse their country’s war in Ukraine could at some point be accepted back into international sports, competing under a neutral flag.

IBA, in lifting its ban, will also allow Russia and Belarus flags and national anthems.

“The time has now come to allow all the rest of the athletes of Russia and Belarus to participate in all the official competitions of their sports representing their countries,” IBA President Umar Kremlev, a Russian, said in a press release last week. “Both the IOC and the International Federations must protect all athletes, and there should be no discrimination based on nationality. It is the duty of all of us to keep sports and athletes away from politics.”

In 2019, the IOC stripped the IBA — then known as AIBA — of its Olympic recognition following an inquiry committee report into finance, governance, refereeing and judging. The IOC ran the Tokyo Olympic boxing competition.

The IBA will not run qualifying events for the 2024 Paris Games, but it does still hold world championships, the next being a men’s event in Uzbekistan next year.

Boxing, introduced on the Olympic program in 1904, was not included on the initial program for the 2028 Los Angeles Games but can still be added. The IBA must address concerns “around its governance, its financial transparency and sustainability and the integrity of its refereeing and judging processes,” Bach said last December.

On Sept. 23, the IBA suspended Ukraine’s boxing federation, citing “government interference.” Ukraine boxers are still allowed to compete with their flag and anthem.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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