Monday, May. 20, 2024

USEF Appoints Debbie McDonald As Technical Advisor Through 2024 Olympics

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On Feb. 1, the U.S. Equestrian Federation announced the return of Debbie McDonald to the U.S. dressage program in the role of technical advisor to lead and oversee training preparation for elite combinations through the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.

“McDonald’s responsibilities will be designated specifically to training support and working collaboratively with personal coaches over the next 18 months in the lead up to team selection for the Paris Games,” stated a USEF press release.

McDonald, now 68, served as technical advisor for the U.S. dressage program from 2019 through 2021, and under her tutelage the squad earned a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021.

On Dec. 21, 2021, the USEF announced it was not renewing McDonald’s contract. She was named, along with her husband Bob McDonald, in a civil suit at the time.

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“The team’s achievement in Tokyo was such an incredible moment for our program, and over the last year I’ve felt a fire and drive to want to get our athletes back on the podium in Paris,” said McDonald. “I’m so passionate about the potential of our athletes and combinations, and it’s my intention to make sure we’re doing everything we can to produce the absolute best results possible in Paris. I’m very motivated and feel incredibly supported to help our athletes work towards that goal over the next year and half.”

As a rider, Debbie won the 2003 FEI World Cup Dressage Final (Sweden) with Brentina, and she won team bronze at the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. She also won team and individual gold medals at the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg.

“[Debbie] McDonald has been instrumental in the U.S. dressage program’s development over the past several years and continues to personally coach a wide range of athletes and combinations, producing top international and national results,” stated the USEF press release. “In the technical advisor role, McDonald will work closely with managing director of dressage Hallye Griffin and high performance and pathway development advisor George Williams on preparation, planning, and training, as well as provide on-the-ground training support through the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.”

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