Lucinda Green has just returned from commentating on an Olympics Games she, and many others, never thought would actually happen. The eventing legend was first amongst the Olympic action as part of Great Britain’s silver medal-winning team at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, and since then she’s found herself in the commentary box for the Games on six occasions. An eventing legend with countless accolades to her name — she’s a World and double European Champion, Olympic silver medallist, dual Burghley and six-time Badminton winner — Lucinda knows the sport as well as anyone in the business. However, this year at Tokyo things were a little different to what she’s used to, in more ways than one.
“For a start, I was working for the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), which I’ve never done before,” explains Lucinda. Previously when commentating at the Olympics, Lucinda worked for individual national broadcasters such as the BBC in the UK or Channel 7 in Australia, where she was relatively “unbound by any regulations”.
“It was quite fascinating to work within Olympic media. This put me into a different zone to what I have ever worked in before. Because there are rules and regulations that you must abide by; these things I had to learn, and it took me a bit of time on one or two occasions. Luckily, John Kyle, the professional commentator, had worked with the OBS before, so he was able to keep me on the straight and narrow,” laughs Lucinda.
Lucinda explains that working in association with the Games was an “incredibly honoured position” and something she thoroughly enjoyed. “It is an exceptional sporting situation; it’s the only situation of its kind that involves the whole world. This year we had Covid-19, which has involved the whole world working towards a common end to try and manage the virus; the Games also involves the world working towards a common aim… to try and beat each other.”
Lucinda was contracted to commentate on the Games prior to the pandemic, and when Covid-19 hit and the Olympics were postponed, she found herself questioning whether they would — or even should — go ahead.
“For a very long time leading up to the Games, I thought we shouldn’t be going and that it was wrong. I could have broken the contract, but I allowed myself to be swept along with it,” she says. On arriving on Tokyo, Lucinda, as part of the media, was Covid-tested daily initially, and then every three days. There were a few positive tests in the village, and while she half-expected cases to spread and chaos to ensue, it never did — tests were “magnificently monitored” and Japan handled the situation “extraordinarily well”.