Pavarotti injury forces horse and rider Jessica Phoenix out of Olympic eventing

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TOKYO — Jessica Phoenix of Cannington, Ont., and Pavarotti have withdrawn from eventing at the Olympic Games because of the horse's injury.

The 19-year-old gelding owned by Phoenix sustained a minor injury in Tuesday's final training session in Tokyo. Phoenix and Equestrian Canada decided not to present Pavarotti at Thursday's horse inspection.

“We were so excited to see Pavarotti finally take on Olympic competition, but horse health and safety remains priority number one,” eventing team chef d'equipe Fleur Tipton said in a statement Thursday.

“We are thankful that Pavarotti’s injury is minor and eternally grateful to his care team for ensuring his comfort and ability to fully recover.

"Jessica and Pavarotti are a team for the ages and we fully support them both through this heartbreaking turn of events.”

Phoenix and Pavarotti won Pan American Games individual gold in 2011 in Mexico and silver in Toronto in 2015. The duo helped Canada win two team silver and a bronze in the last three Pan Am Games.

Colleen Loach of Dunham, Que., and Qorry Blue d’Argouges will represent Canada in eventing in Tokyo.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 28, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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