Bluemont Rider on Team

Bluemont resident John Williams is one of two Virginia riders named Friday to the U.S. three-day eventing team that will compete next month at the Olympic Games in Athens.

Williams, 39, and his horse, Carrick, made the final cut along with Kim Severson of Keene, Va., south of Charlottesville; Darren Chiacchia of Springville, N.Y.; Julie Richards of Atlanta; and Amy Tryon of Duvall, Wash.

In addition, two other Virginia riders were named to the list of alternates who will be in line to compete if any horse and rider on the team must withdraw. They are veteran Olympic medalist David O'Connor of The Plains, riding Outlawed, and Jan Thompson of Purcellville, on Task Force.

The Olympic three-day competition -- consisting of dressage, cross-country and show jumping -- is scheduled for Aug. 15 to 18.

The team and all the alternates are scheduled to leave tomorrow for England to train with their head coach, Mark Phillips. On Aug. 10, the team and one alternate -- who will be chosen the day before -- are scheduled to leave for Athens.

Phillips said the team members are "the best of the best" who will nonetheless find the competition in Athens "tough and a big challenge."

The Olympics also include separate show jumping and dressage competitions. The show jumping team was announced last month and includes one Virginia rider, Alison Firestone of Upperville, as an alternate. The show jumping competition is schedule for Aug. 22 to 27.

The U.S dressage team is to be announced tomorrow. That competition is scheduled for Aug. 20 to 25.