Exclusive interview with Pierre Durand

Pierre Durand, 1988 gold medalist at the Seoul Olympics and team World champion at the first Equestrian Games in Stockholm in 1990, came to Caen on Sunday 3 March to present a preview of his film « Jappeloup » at the city’s Pathé cinema. It was the opportunity for the Normandie 2014 Organisation Committee to take a look back at this great champion’s illustrious career and to talk about the 2014 Games’ key issues. Here are a few selected excerpts… 

Exclusive interview with Pierre Durand
© Comité d'Organisation Normandie 2014

Pierre Durand, as someone who has competed in international competitions, what exactly do the World Equestrian Games mean to you personally?

Well, I had the immense pleasure of taking part in the very first edition of the WEG in Stockholm in 1990. Not only the honour of participating, but also the joy of becoming team World champion. It was the year that Eric Navet became individual World champion and Hubert Bourdy came away with a bronze medal. It was such a fantastic achievement ! Ever since then, I’ve really been in favour of this particular type of World championships. I genuinely like this competition; we get to see several disciplines all in the one place and it’s generally a great moment.

In 2014, the Games will be taking place in Normandy, France for the very first time. How do you feel about this ?!

Ah, you’ve got a lot going for you here in Normandy; the region is the cradle of horse breeding in France. Then you have all the socio-economic players, a very active equine sector, a lot of competition organisers, excellent riders… All in all, I think this makes Normandy the ideal place for staging a successful event !

Do you think we can pull off the challenge to bring together 500 000 visitors, with a mix of both equestrian fans and the general public?

Being able to reach out to a wider audience is always the main concern or biggest uncertainty facing organisers of events such as this one. Bearing in mind that the Games will be taking place at a whole host of sites, it’s important to promote the event properly and to use it to further the general public’s knowledge of equestrianism. It’s definitely not going to be easy; you will have to promote several different disciplines, all of which have their own particularities that can be quite technical for the general public. The aim is to be able to explain these disciplines in simple terms so that people actually want to come to the World Equestrian Games !

So we’ll be seeing you in the stands in 2014, right?             

Well, it depends on whether you invite me, doesn’t it! (laughs)

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