Despite strong performances in her last two full major events, equestrian Allison Springer of Barrington Hills wound up only as a disappointed alternate to the five-member U.S. eventing team at the London Olympics.
The team was named after the Barbary Castle eventing competition last weekend in England. Springer and her horse, Arthur, were fourth U.S. finishers there (12th overall) after having been the top U.S. finishers (and second overall) at this country’s top annual eventing competition, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in April.
In an email, Springer said she was “heartbroken and confused” over not being selected and had received no reason for the decision.
"That being said," she wrote, "an argument can be made for why every horse on the team should've been left off and (that) every horse that didn't make the team should've been selected. I guess what I'm trying to say is that we had a lot of great horse-and-rider combinations to choose from, and it wasn't an easy job for the selectors.”
U.S. Eventing Association president Brian Sabo said in a Friday email his organization had no role in the selection process, which was run by the U.S. Equestrian Federation.
"As I am surely one of Allison’s biggest fans, I too am saddened that she was not selected for the 2012 Olympic Team," Sabo wrote. "Not only is Allison a fantastic rider, she is also a phenomenal teacher."
Joanie Morris, equestrian Team USA's press officer, outlined the selection procedures in a Saturday email buit did not specify how Springer ranked under criteria including:
*Overall performance and soundness of the athlete/horse combination in 2011/2012 competitions.
*Previous international experience of athlete/horse combination
*The prospect of the athlete/horse combination to win an individual medal or contribute to a team medal at the event (Olympics).
"It was a unique year, because the 'bench' is as deep as anyone can remember," Morris wrote. "There were difficult choices to make because the overall quality of the group as a whole was very high."
Springer intends to try again for the 2016 Olympics.
"As of yet I'm having a challenging time refocusing on what (comes) next as I am so prepared to win my country medals now," she wrote.