Derek di Grazia, current designer of the Rolex Kentucky CCI****, has been named the cross-country course designer for both the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games (Quebec) and the 2020 Olympic Games (Tokyo), as was first reported by Eventing Nation.
“It’s obviously quite an honor,” said di Grazia, who is based in Carmel Valley, Calif. “As a designer, to be able to design one of these is amazing, and then to be doing both of them is quite an honor, and I’m very excited about it.”
Di Grazia, who also designs the course for the Jaguar Land Rover Bromont CCI*** on the same property in Bromont, Quebec, started talking about the WEG track last June and started working on the property last September.
“I’m really in the beginning stages of developing that course, so I think my prime focus initially is to go ahead and start to develop the track to see where it’s going to go,” he said.
Di Grazia visited Sea Forest in Tokyo Bay, Japan, where the cross-country course will be built for the 2020 Olympics in March.
“It’s a new site, and there’s not really a lot there right now,” he said. “It’s eventually meant to be a park after the Games, so it’s going to be developed into that over the next few years. It’s a pretty raw site right now, but that gives us the ability to do what we need to do to develop the track and the course there for the Olympics.”
Di Grazia began designing at the Fair Hill International (Md.) in 1999 and added Bromont to his docket in 2009. In 2011, he was named the course designer for Rolex Kentucky CCI****.
Only two other U.S. designers have set either a World Championship or Olympics course. Roger Haller designed courses for the 1978 World Championships in Lexington, Ky., and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Neil Ayer designed the 1986 World Championship course in Australia and the course for the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984.