EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Olympic Equestrian Reed Kessler On Being A Role Model
U.S. Olympic team member and equestrian Reed Kessler, 18, is making Olympic history by being the youngest show jumper ever to compete in the Summer Olympic games. With a birthday on July 9, she beat the cutoff date for competition by three weeks.
"This is my first year I've been old enough because of age restrictions as of January to compete at the highest level, so that's new," Kessler told Uinterview in our exclusive with her. Kessler finds being a young competitive rider to be "like an out-of-body experience … unbelievable," and she takes pride and satisfaction in the fact that she, too, can be a inspiration for riders even younger than she.
"I've just had so many young riders, even kids who have just ridden a horse once or twice, who just love horses, reach out and say, 'You're the ultimate dream story for kids everywhere that love horses.' It's kind of unprecedented," she said of her role in the equestrian events.
At the same time, the young rider doesn't find it too challenging to stay focused on her task, despite the pressure. "When it comes down to it," Kessler told us, "I know there's the prestige and the weight of having your country watching and representing them, but it's just another course, another day riding on your horse," she said.
Kessler will climb onto her horse, Cylana, to compete in her first Olympic show jumping event, on August 4.
Check out our entire exclusive with Reed Kessler here:
For more Uinterview exclusives with Team USA athletes in the 2012 London Olympics: