Agree with both points.
Eric alone, no. But he is a member of NARG, and that includes a LOT of North American riders. If they, and their sponsors, can band together, they will have some political power. And they need to address it now, while the issue is fresh. Enough wasn't done after Sapphire's elimination, so Denis Lynch, a French rider and now Tiffany have been caught by it. It cost Lynch his spot at the Olympics, and we know how it ended for Tiffany. I happen to agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of the FEI, RAyers. The riders have got to figure that ANY of them could be next.
I do think Eric's intent was first to put pressure on EC and it appears he was successful at that. Then, to hopefully work with EC and other riders/owners to approach the FEI to make changes to that rule. At least, Eric took the first step and I hope others will follow him now.
and I guess, all's well that ends well
It is not an inclusive group. While important to a small group of GP show jumpers it has little relevance to the vast majority of those who show in NA and little impact on USEF's positions .
I'll standbehind Eric's comments, if for no reason than it shows he has a backbone and moral courage. He's come through a lot his whole life long, he has taken his lumps and bumps and I, for one, Glimmerglass, believe in redemption. For years after his ban the CBC reporters never let him come on tv without bringing up the old garbage - I finally wrote a couple of letters, one to the BBC and one to a prominent horse magazine. I go so much positive feedback from people after that and the CBC has refrained from bringing up these past issues again and again. I don't believe it was my input for one moment, actually, but a Gold medal in Hong Kong didn't hurt either. Eric has never shied away from the truth, he's been humble, well spoken and honest, but has moved on regarding his sport.
Not riding on the team may bot hurt him - he has owners and horses who would probably gain more by Eric riding as an individual financially without risking the horse as a Team member. Remember Milton? the Bradley's would not send him to the Games in case he got hurt on the long route to Seoul. At the time the Brits were outraged as they had taken Milton firmly in as their own horse!
To me, I don't think it's a bad thing that the FEI had to "sell out" to the IOC in order to keep equestrian in the Olympic Games. If that is what it took, it is OK by me. Because that is the state of things right now, and horses remaining in the Olympics is essential to the future of the sport. It was the pragmatic choice.
Is it ethical that it had to happen this way? No. Appropriate? No. Do the best horses and riders get selected and then compete at the Games? Yes. Is the sport of high quality? Yes.
Because the competition pits the best against the best, I don't see too much fallout from 'selling out.' (And so the FEI vents its anger from the mistreatment from the IOC on the North Americans when it can. :lol:)
I am not agreeing with it, and we should continue to do what we can to right this ship. But, no free lunch.
And although Eric Lamaze may not make THE change occur, bit by incremental bit, change will be made. That's how it gets done. Slavery wasn't ended in 5 years. Voiced discomfort over it went on for decades prior to the Civil War. But, that era did get ended.