Phillips keen to soak up village buzz

Zara Phillips, Queen Elizabeth's grand-daughter and one of five riders selected for Britain's equestrian eventing team, is looking forward to the "buzz" of staying with other athletes in London's Olympic village.


Phillips's presence at a news conference to introduce the team attracted its own buzz in the form of TV satellite trucks and a healthy crop of photographers, but she was clearly reluctant to have the spotlight deflected from the other riders.

"I just count myself very lucky to be riding on a team with these guys," she said.

The eventing team will stay in the athletes' village during the Games and when asked how she felt about it Phillips said: "Obviously it will be great to be part of the Olympics and to get the atmosphere and the buzz of being part of it."

Phillips, the youngest eventing team member at 31, will be riding at her first Olympics but said she was not disappointed that a pre-event veterinary inspection meant she and horse, High Kingdom, would miss the opening ceremony.

"I think I'd rather get on with the competition than go to the opening ceremonies," said Phillips, who was individual world champion in 2006 and won gold at the 2005 European championships on her horse Toytown.

She said she hoped she was "luckier" than mother Princess Anne, a member of the British Olympic team at the 1976 Games, and father Mark Phillips, who won team gold in Munich in 1972 and silver in Seoul in 1988.

"My mum fell off and I don't think my dad ran the cross-country," Phillips joked, adding that her father had not said much about his own experiences. "He's not a big talker. He's more interested in training."

Eventing consists of a dressage test, a cross-country phase and a final show jumping competition.

Britain is fielding a strong team, said team leader Will Connell who stressed that Phillips was chosen because she is an outstanding athlete.

Kristina Cook, William Fox-Pitt and Mary King were part of the British squad that won team bronze in Beijing and team gold at the 2010 world championships. Cook also won individual bronze in Beijing.

This will be the second Olympics for Cook, the fourth for Fox-Pitt and the sixth for King. It will be the first for the other team member, Georgina "Piggy" French - nicknamed by her sisters at birth.

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