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Seidemann Scores a Silver in 2004 Paralympic Competition

by Sarah Evers | Sep 23, 2004, 12:00 AM

One step out of the ring, internationally renowned equestrian Lynn Seidemann and Phoenix B knew they had put on a good show. Slated to ride second to last in the line-up, the pair pulled out all the stops to wow the judges with a spectacular performance Thursday. Make that a Silver medal-winning performance that surprised even Lynn.

“It was a good day,” Lynn said modestly after the news started to filter back through the time zones into the States.

With a Silver medal in tow and a final score of 76.063%, a good day takes on a whole new meaning—which is why I couldn’t hide my excitement when I dialed her up in Athens to blurt out “Congratulations!” after her big win. Almost an entire world away, I could hear the hustle, bustle and general excitement in the background as I asked her how it felt to be a Paralympic medalist; she answered with just as much grace, poise and enthusiasm as you’d hope a Paralympic athlete would have.

“I’m just thankful for all the people who helped me get here,” said the Coppell, Texas native. “I’m just glad we can bring a medal home for our team—especially from Athens, home to the Olympics. This means a lot to me.”

Make no mistake though; the reigning Grade I World Champion is no stranger to the spotlight. She brought home a Silver medal in doubles tennis at the 1992 Games in Barcelona before switching gears to compete with the U.S. Paralympic Equestrian Team during the 2000 Games in Sydney.

“I just feel like I’m a lot more prepared this time around,” Lynn said with confidence. “I’m a much better rider. I thought I was good then, but when I saw the other riders [in Sydney] I knew I needed a lot of work.” This year, she is one of those other riders.

“It’s well deserved,” said Chef d’Equipe Denise Avolio. “She’s worked hard for it.”

That hard work included several training trips to Scotland with Phoenix B earlier this year, and hours upon hours of time and one-on-one coaching with friend and trainer Renee Albrecq. The training and travel not only refined Lynn’s skills in the saddle, it also refined her gem of a partner, the 15-year-old Polish Warmblood who according to Lynn, “really takes care of his rider.” Initially, Lynn was worried all the travel would take its toll on her partner. But after what turned out to be a medal-winning ride, Lynn is no longer concerned.

“This is the calmest he’s ever been at a competition. He was just spectacular,” Lynn shared. When all was said and done, it seems Phoenix B already knew he’d won the prize—so he nudged Lynn for his own speck of spotlight. “He’s always a ham. He’s never camera shy. He’s never taken a bad photo either. He’s just thinking ‘Oh yeah! I’m here!’” While a Silver medal might have been the icing on top of the Paralympics cake for Lynn, Phoenix B was looking for a tastier morsel after his win. “He started checking everybody’s pockets for his treat,” Lynn said laughing.

Meanwhile, their teammates looked on with a touch of pride, and perhaps a longing to see her medal up close. Although Lynn Seidemann and Phoenix B took the Silver for Individual Freestyle in Grade I dressage, their victory marked something of a moment of pure pride for the entire team—a team Lynn says is made up of incredible athletes, each in their own right.

“This team has been one of the strongest teams I’ve ever been on, as far as really working hard, and the staff supporting the athletes. It’s paid off—we have a good group of athletes and they’ve done the best they’ve ever done in competition,” she said. “Even if we don’t all come home with medals, we’ve all done our best.”

That’s one piece of wisdom that won’t be disputed in any country, be it the language of ancient Olympians, or English. From this side of the pond to the other, we send out a collective shout to Lynn Seidemann, Phoenix B and their incredible teammates, who in our minds, are already Gold medalists. Congratulations! Or as they’d say in Athens, Syghariti'rja!