Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lana duPont Wright Inducted in to the Eventing Hall of Fame!

Fair Hill International co-President, Lana duPont Wright, was inducted into the Eventing
Hall of Fame on Saturday 9th December 2012 in Colorado Springs.

Congratulations Lana!

Lana (center) with Ginny Suarez and Lana's daughter, Lucy Dunne

Here is Jimmy Wofford’s introduction, which “says it all”!

It is a great privilege for me, to be allowed to present our final inductee into the 2012 Hall of Fame, Lana DuPont Wright. Lana is exceedingly shy, and at first she refused to attend these proceedings, on the grounds that she would have to speak in public. This being too fearsome a prospect, she declined the honor. Fortunately, her good friends, especially Donnan Jones and Kevin Freeman (both of whom are here with us tonight,) were able to convince her that she had only to appear; her accomplishments would speak for themselves. Lana reluctantly changed her mind, is with us tonight, and has asked me to make a few remarks on her behalf.

Lana probably comes by her equestrian interests from her mother, Allaire duPont, who is perhaps best known as the breeder and owner of Kelso, an unprecedented 5-time Horse of the Year. Obviously, unprecedented feats are part of Lana' s family history. She is surrounded tonight by some members of that family, her daughter and grandchildren, and supported by the memory of her late daughter, Beale Wright Morris, who left us far too soon. We are delighted they can be with us as we salute an extraordinary lady.

Lana's list of accomplishments is too long for me to list here. However, if I mention just a few of them, you will come to know Lana as I do. First of all, not many people ever win a medal at the international level, so when I mention that Lana has won medals in two equestrian disciplines, you begin to realize that you are in the presence of someone special. That those medals happened nearly twenty years apart gives you an insight into her abiding passion for all things equestrian. Not content with all this, Lana has consistently placed in endurance rides. You will search the world round, to find anyone to equal her accomplishments. When you add these to her years and years of support to our sport, from Pony Club and grass-roots events to chairing the Fair Hill Fall Championships, you begin to see why Lana is here tonight.

While her 1991 gold medal in FEI driving is impressive, her silver medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics led her here to the Hall of Fame. Lana was the first woman in history to ride in the Olympics as an eventer. Before Lana, women were the weaker sex; after Lana, women joined one of the few Olympic sports where men and women compete on an equal basis. Considering that eventing competitors are currently 88% female, I would especially like for the ladies in the room tonight to consider a time, not so long ago, when a glass ceiling existed. We now take it for granted that women will stand on an Olympic podium, but until Lana came along, that was not possible. I hope the young ladies in the audience tonight, especially those of you who have made lonely, secret commitment to pay the price of Olympic excellence, I hope you will pause for a moment, and pay homage to the lady who broke that glass ceiling for you, and for all future generations.

I was about to say that Lana did it alone, but of course that would not be true...she did it with her marvelous Mr. Wister. Lana laughs that she has long since forgiven Mr. Wister for bucking her off so frequently while they formed their partnership, a silver medal partnership that would change the face of eventing forever. Lana goes on to remark, and I quote:

"I am humbled by the multitude of people it takes to get "we the medalists" to the podium. In that moment, we should remember every volunteer at every event we attended to prepare for this day on the podium, from the event organizer, to the course designer, secretary, fence judges, ring crew and parking attendants. It is indeed our country that stands on the podium with us in that moment of celebration."

Lana goes on to say, "Every time we medal as a country, every volunteer along the way should close their eyes and feel that medal around their necks too. We do not get there alone. We do not celebrate alone. My sincere thank you to a country of people who made it possible for me to stand on the podium." Close quotes.

Aren't those wonderful words? The English language is a marvelous instrument. Mark Twain famously remarked that the difference between the right word and the almost right word was the difference between the lightning bug, and the lightning. I believe this, yet I found myself at a loss of words to completely describe Lana, so, I turned to the dictionary, where I found the word I was looking for...a word defined as:
1) having no like or equal.
2) Unparalleled.
3) Incomparable.
You see, the word I was looking for is "unique." Lana is unparalleled, and her achievement is incomparable; there never was anyone like Lana, and there will never be anyone like her again. In years to come, eventers will look at the list of Hall of Fame members, and they will say, "Once upon a time, there was an inductee like Lana duPont Wright...but only once, for she is indeed unique."

Ladies and Gentlemen, Lana duPont Wright.

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