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U.S. Based Sharn Wordley Named to Olympic Show Jumping Team

Ocala, FL---With a stellar year on the U.S. Grand Prix circuit that included more than a dozen visits to the podium, Florida-based Sharn Wordley, 34, has claimed one of the highly-contested spots on the New Zealand Olympic showjumping team. Dreaming of making the team since he left New Zealand at 18-years-old, Wordley is ecstatic about representing his native country in Hong Kong. "For me, this is the culmination of everything I've been working toward for most of my life. For any athlete, regardless of your sport, there is no greater honor, or thrill, than to wear your nation's colors at the Olympic Games. "

Wordley solidified his position as a contender for a berth on this year's team by earning his Certificate of Capability (COC) at CSIO5* Lummen in Belgium with Rockville, by Ferro. Wordley describes his ten-year-old KWPN gelding as quite game and a willing show ring partner. Their partnership has blossomed over the last 18 months since being purchased in Europe by Wordley and Rhonda Goble of the Westwind Equine Training Center, located in Friendsville, Tennessee. "Rockville has really proven himself a strong competitor this year. He goes out, gets the job done and is happy to do it. I'm really looking forward to a long future with him."

Following the qualification of Rockville, Wordley qualified a second horse, Fall Kaheer, a Belgian gelding, by Pavarottii during a special Olympic Qualifier at Hagen. "We want to have as many options and the strongest team possible representing New Zealand," he says. Wordley plans to continue to keeping both horses in top form at select competitions in Europe leading up to the Games. With Opening Ceremonies on August 8 and showjumping scheduled for the following week, the entire team is focused on keeping everyone healthy and fit to peak at just the right time in August.

Wordley will be joined in Hong Kong by teammates Katie McVean, 22; Bruce Goodin, 38 and Daniel Meech, 34. McVean has broken a long dry spell in New Zealand showjumping history by being the first New Zealand-based showjumper named to the team for 16 years. The youngest rider on the team, she is carrying on a family tradition. Both her mother Vicki and father Jeff rode for Australia, with the later representing the country at Olympic, World Cup and world championship levels. Goodin, the team veteran, will be attending his fourth Olympic Games, having competed in 1992, 2000 and 2004. He is based in Sweden and has amassed numerous titles on the British and European circuits. Another veteran, Meech will be attending his third Olympics. Shortlisted for every world championships and Olympic Games since 1996, he holds the record of being New Zealand's highest placed individual showjumper with a 12th place finish in Athens in 2004.

With American-born and two-time Olympic silver medalist Greg Best as Chef d'Equipe, the showjumping team departs for the 2008 Olympic Games and will arrive in Hong Kong on August 5th, with traveling reserve Kirk Webby. Wordley, along with the rest of the team, is excited about the team's talent and the opportunity to put New Zealand showjumping talent at the forefront of international competition.

About Sharn Wordley:

Wordley, a native of New Zealand, has represented his country in numerous Nation's Cups and has competed in 22 countries. He qualified for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games and was the young rider champion in New Zealand earlier in his career. In addition to his victories as a rider, Wordley has coached riders who have gone on to represent their countries in the Olympics, World Cup Finals, World Championships and the Pan American Games.

Photo Credit: Amy Dragoo


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