Exclusive: Pentathlete Katy Livingston on how her Olympic hopes stalled on a horse
Thursday, 03 May 2012
May 3 - Katy Livingston, a Beijing 2008 Olympian, has spoken of the moment she knew her chances of qualifying for Britain's modern pentathlon team at London 2012 had disappeared as seven of her teammates were announced here as individual selections for next week's World Championships.
Livingston (pictured above), 28, told insidethegames that she knew she would not make the World Championship team – and hence have a chance to qualify for the London Olympics – when she failed to persuade her horse to make a jump at a competition last week.
"I had thought to myself I could qualify for the World Championships team, and have the chance of making the Olympics," Livingston said.
"But at the World Cup last week in Russia I had a really unlucky horse draw and it was the end of the dream.
"At the start of this season there were six of us who, in any other country, would be good enough to compete in the Olympic Games.
"If we were Irish, or Australian, we would be in the Games.
"It's bad luck that there are so many girls here, but, you know, you can't take it to heart, you can't get too down about it.
"I personally think it's great for Britain that we have such strong girls.
"I would have loved it to be me, but I haven't performed well enough to get there.
"I am going to continue to the end of the season and make a decision about things then.
"I hope to be around to be a training partner for the two girls that are selected for the Games."
Of the seven athletes who will compete as individuals at the World Championships from May 7 to 13, all four women named – Mhairi Spence, Samantha Murray, Heather Fell and Freyja Prentice (pictured below) – are in the world's top 20, while the three men – Nick Woodbridge, Jamie Cooke and Sam Weale – are in the top 21.
For three of the women's squad, however – Katy Burke, Kate French and Livingston, who will all compete in the team relay event in Rome – the announcement formally ended their hopes of qualifying for the home Games this summer.
"I knew once the horse stopped first time that my chance had gone," Livingston said.
"I needed to score highly in the competition to qualify for the World Championships.
"When we had the team meeting where we were told about the World Championship places it wasn't a big shock to me – I knew where I stood.
"They asked me if I would do the relay and I was happy to do that because I know Britain has got such strength in depth in our team there's a good chance we could get a medal in the team event.
"Since the combined run/shoot came in 2009 I immediately struggled compared to the other girls, and for the first two years in particular I was behind and I knew I had a lot of work to do to get myself back up to where I had been in 2008.
"So I have sometimes been fighting to get back into the team rather than leading it.
"But I had done a lot of work to regain my competitiveness.
"In Russia, the girl who rode the horse before me rode it badly, and stripped it of all its confidence.
"I had a really good warm-up on it; I had four really nice jumps with it, and felt like it trusted me.
"But then when we got back into the competition it obviously remembered what had happened to it half an hour earlier and it just wouldn't jump.
"We all go into pentathlons knowing that you will get a random horse so you put yourself up there knowing that already so you can't really complain about it too much.
"But it was frustrating to me that my combined was improving to the point where I was competitive again and it was unfortunately a bad horse draw that actually ended my chances."