By Catie Staszak
When McLain Ward speaks, people listen. From light-hearted reflections on former Olympic uniforms, throwbacks with U.S. team members and the sage reflection that comes with being a pillar for Team USA for more than two decades, Ward has a good grasp on perspective.
He rides well, too.
Coming in just for team competition, Ward anchored Team USA to a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympic Games over the weekend, a result that came following a thrilling jump-off against eventual champions Sweden.
It’s been a long year for equestrian sport, with every athlete doubly impacted by the postponement of these Olympics, having also had to prepare their equine partners to peak at the right time. The U.S.’s performance was a perfect illustration of a plan well executed. But it wasn’t easy.
In fact, Ward called these Games, “the hardest medal performance to achieve I have had in my career.”
“Whether the unprecedented current state of our world, the delayed games, the incredibly complicated and unpredictable lead up or a whole host of other hurdles, it has been a challenge,” he posted on social media.
“I always think in these moments I’m suppose to write something profound reflecting on the experience, but I think this Tokyo 2021 Olympics, the incredible accomplishment that our team achieved last night and the journey building up to these games stands on its own.”
Read more about McLain’s Olympic journey, though his eyes, and How Team USA extends far beyond the riders in the arena, a reminder that even the very best in our sport struggle, physically and mentally—and inspiration that we all can rise above.
Don’t forget: “Most of all, though, we owe this dream to our horses.”