Polo Players Edition

OCT 2018

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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40 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N P O L O I N T H E P A M P A S BY ERNESTO RODRIGUEZ OLYMPIC HOPES A fter 88 years of absence in the Olympic Games, polo will be one of the sports in the 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games that will be held this month in Buenos Aires, with the epicenter in the fields of Palermo. Absent from the program since 1936, officials of the Argentine Polo Association persuaded the International Olympic Committee to permit polo to be admitted in the Youth Olympic Games program held in Buenos Aires from Oct. 6-18. Polo was introduced in the Olympic Games in its second edition, in Paris in 1900. Five teams of mostly mixed nationality (only Mexico and the French Compiêgne Polo Club team had four players from the same country) clashed at the Bagatelle Polo Club fields. Foxhunters Hurlingham, a team formed by John Beresford, Denis St. George Daly and Alfred Rawlinson from Great Britain, and Americans Foxhall Parker Keene and Frank MacKey, won Gold. The second Olympic tournament was in London in 1908, at Hurlingham Polo Grounds. Three teams entered the competition and the Gold went to London's Roehampton (Charles Darley Miller, George Arthur Miller, Patteson Womersley Nickalls and Herbert Haydon Wilson). After a hiatus of 12 years, the next contest was in Antwerp in 1920. Already competing as nations, Great Britain (Teignmouth Melvill, Frederick W. Barrett, John Wodehouse and Vivian Noverre Lockett) was the best of four countries with Spain (Leopoldo de La Maza, Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart, Hernando Fitz-James Stuart, Alvaro de Figueroa, Jose de Figueroa) taking Silver and USA (Arthur Harris, Terry Allen, John Montgomery and Nelson Margetts) getting the bronze medal. Host Belgium did not medal. An Olympiad later, in Paris, Argentina made its next appearance. The team formed by Arturo J. Kenny, Juan D. Nelson, Enrique Padilla and Juan B. Miles (with Guillermo Naylor as a substitute) won all four games to be at the top of the podium. USA (Elmer Boeseke, Tommy Hitchcock Jr., Frederick Roe and Rodman Wanamaker) settled for the Silver medal after losing to the South Americans, 6-5, in a decisive match. The last time polo was included as an Olympic sport was in Berlin in 1936, when Argentina (Manuel Andrada, Roberto Cavanagh, Luis Duggan and Andrés Gazzotti in the line up, and Juan Nelson, Diego Cavanagh and Enrique Alberdi as substitutes) was the best of the five participants. The forcefulness exhibited by Argentina in those two victories—and the operative inconveniences of framing a sporting event such as polo–were discouraging to the following cities that organized the Olympic Games, so the sport vanished from the program. The opportunity of a reappearance occurred a few days after Buenos Aires won its bid to be the host venue for the third YOG in the election held in Lausanne (Switzerland) on July 4, 2013, leaving behind Medellin (Colombia) and Glasgow (Scotland). Tolo Fernández Ocampo, one of the main promoters of youth polo in the country, convinced the board of directors of the AAP—then led by Francisco Dorignac—to propose the return of polo to the Olympic program. After some years of inaction, the inclusion of the sport was one of the Polo will be included as an exhibition sport in the Youth Olympic Games CLICK POLO Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee, gets in the swing of things aboard a wooden horse.

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