Our 12-strong Team Lëtzebuerg has athletes competing in athletics, cycling, swimming, equestrianism, table tennis, triathlon and archery. (ninth of twelve)

FYI: The so-called “cadre élite” comprises those athletes who have both participated in a certain number of high-level competitions and either achieved, or been close to achieving, the specific standard set to enter the “high performance” category of their sport (distinguished from “mass sport” or “recreational sport”).

The “cadre promotion” includes athletes who have not yet made the “elite” category but have a realistic chance of doing so within the first 6 years upon admission. This is not achieved by meeting specific criteria, but by their general performance as well as participation in high performance international competitions (within respective age categories and 5th and 6th years of performance).

EQUESTRIANISM

Nicolas Wagner is participating in his first Olympics and was admitted to COSL’s elite category in 2019. As the first Luxembourgish equestrian to represent the nation, Wagner is attending the Olympics with his horse, Quarterback Jr: “It means a lot to me. I’m really proud, and I’m the first Luxembourger to ever achieve this, which makes me even more proud.”

Wagner, who last ranked 10th in the Dressage World Breeding Championship for Young Horses in Ermelo, explained that the way he readies himself for competitions is through meticulous planning: “[I] prepare everything in peace. I prepare the horse, so that there is a general sense of calm, to ensure the 6-7 minutes run smoothly.”

However the qualifications were not without struggle. Wagner and his steed faced tough competition, facing off against four other surrounding nations, Austria, France, Switzerland and Belgium: “It goes by continents and we were in the B league, and there was a real battle as to who would get the spot.”

Other preparations involve quarantining Quarterback Jr due to a deadly virus, which makes transport no easy feat.

Wagner and Quarterback will be marked on elegance and precision, and compete against 60 other athletes. While tentatively hopeful, Wagner remains aware of potential difficulties: “It would be great to get through to the first 30. That would make me really happy. But something can always happen in dressage. A horse can always be nervous or someone can make a mistake. it can happen.”