Olympic History

   We kicked off the new quarter with a hike up Mt. Rubidoux. Every time I’m there, I wonder at the placement of this plaque:

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   The 10th Olympics were held in L.A. The story behind Shunzo Kido’s mercy has been attributed to an “endurance race” and a “steeplechase,” neither of which is quite right. He was an eventer, which does require a great deal of endurance (much more than modern eventing), and galloping over fences. Most accounts agree that he was on the verge of winning, but pulled up and dismounted because he felt his horse go off. Along with this 1934 plaque, a commemorative saddle was presented to Japan in 1964. Several accounts from the 60’s suggest he pulled up after being disqualified for refusals; however, this was likely in show jumping. In the interwar Olympics, many riders did double duty. In some cases, so did the horses, however he appears he had two mounts. The younger, reported as a 9-year-old French mare, was likely his show jumping mount. The eventing course went through downtown L.A. to Santa Monica (really!), not Riverside, but in a park named for Frank Miller, the placement isn’t so strange after all.

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Lt. Col. Shunzo Kido

 

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