July 28, 2012
Samantha gets Ja going
Equestrian gets Jamaica's 2012 Olympics campaign under way
Andre Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
Canada-born Jamaican equestrian Samantha Albert will get Jamaica's 2012 Olympics campaign under way today when she features in the individual eventing competition at the historic Greenwich Park, London's oldest Royal Park.
Albert, who became the first Jamaican equestrian Olympian, when she represented the country at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, will be aboard 12-year-old gelding CARRAIG DUBH at 12 p.m. (6 a.m. Jamaican time), in the first of the three disciplines that the pair will have to complete.
She will return to Greenwich Park, on Monday, for the cross-country leg before completing her schedule a day later in the jumping finale.
Albert will start tomorrow's run from number 14 on the order list, looking to improve on her showing aboard BEFORE I DO IT in Beijing, where she did not place.
It has been a difficult journey for Albert, who has had to rely heavily on fund-raising efforts to get her to this point, with a cost of approximately $3.5 million just to get a horse to the Olympic Games.
She did receive support from triple world record holder Usain Bolt, who donated and signed three of his custom PUMA apparel for a fund-raising event, which was held to help secure her passage to the Games.
"Usain Bolt very kindly signed three shirts and wrote some cards saying 'Good luck Sam, and see you in the village,' Albert told the Malaysian Star.
Born to a Jamaican mother and an English father, Albert fell in love with horses as a 13-year-old, when she was first introduced to riding by her father.
Albert, who has lived in England since 2000, noted also that this will be her final appearance at an Olympic Games as she will be turning her attention to raising her two sons.
"I've given up everything to do this," Albert told The Guardian.
"My boys are at the age now (10 and 12) where there's so much more I'd like to do with them. There are things like going away for a weekend or having Sunday lunch, which you don't do, and I don't want to start resenting it."
The London Olympic Games have so far been dominated by Bolt, but Albert is hoping to, like she did in Beijing, to put some of the attention on her event.
"In the 2008 Olympics, we were the first to compete, so all the athletes came after me."
It wasn't until a few months later that people started sending me clippings, but I'd been on the front of all the Jamaican newspapers every day because the athletes didn't start till a week later. I was bigger than Usain Bolt, for about three days anyway," she joked.