Equestrian-U.S. team starts bowing in homage to Japanese culture

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TOKYO (Reuters) - The Tokyo Olympics have barely started, but the U.S. equestrian team said on Thursday it had already gone local after taking inspiration from Japanese politeness by bowing to each other.

"We're all learning to bow," dressage rider Adrienne Lyle told a virtual news conference ahead of the first equestrian events starting on Saturday.

She was echoed by her team mate Steffen Peters, who also said food at the Tokyo Games was the best of the five Olympics he had been to.

"The kindness and friendliness is contagious. We notice ourselves, when we greet each other in the morning, we bow not just once but twice ... It's really not that hard to be nice and I really think we can learn a lot from the Japanese culture," 56-year-old Peters said.

When asked about the lack of spectators in Tokyo, the German-born athlete, whose U.S. team is facing stiff competition from his native country, said the riders are so focused on their horses that they barely register the spectators.

"It is different but I think a very very small sacrifice compared to what so many people went through during this corona epidemic," Peters said.

(Reporting by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Michael Perry)

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