GHI blog

“Team OTTO” passes first test before the Olympic Games with flying colors

It feels as though the Olympic flame has already been lit up. Flower arrangements and a cheering crowd on the terraces, horses pawing on the ground and judges standing at the arena border with a serious look on their faces. “Everything was just as you would expect it to be during the actual Games”, Wolfgang Otto reports being back home at his company’s headquarters, tanned and satisfied. However, there was one significant difference: the three-day test event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was not all about the horses and riders, but about the arena constructors.


Wolfgang Otto was anything but nervous. For one, it is simply not in his nature. The CEO of German company OTTO Sport is a calm and down-to-earth routinier, especially considering the fact that he and his team had been on site in Brazil for the previous 7 weeks before the test event, so there would be no reason to be afraid of any unpleasant surprises.


They were on site when 2,500 tons of sand were shipped to the construction grounds, when 16,000 square meters of OTTO-PerforatedMats were installed and, this way, three of a total of five ordered arenas were finished on schedule.


On the first day of the test event, none other than Rio’s mayor visited the site. TV cameras pointed Brazilian test riders and their horses, screens displayed the scores given by the judges. However, one year before the competition for medals begins on the OTTO arenas, neither celebrities nor athletic performance were the center of attention. All that mattered were questions such as “How many riders can have their turn on the arenas before the surface needs to be watered and levelled? How many tractors including the new OTTO-ArenaLevellers will be needed? How can the whole maintenance procedure be included without disturbing the event?”


Although these questions might sound rather trivial, they absolutely contribute to the success of a major event such as this one. After all, when competing for Olympic honor, the twentieth rider must encounter the exact same condition of the surface as the first. This is accomplished by means of proper maintenance in the arenas. “For me, the test event was less about examining our installed product than it was a test run for our maintenance activities” says Otto. His conclusion: a few more tractors and levellers and nothing will stand in the way of a fair competition.


In January 2016, ‚team OTTO‘ will travel to Rio once more. They are looking forward to this as, despite being mainly about technical features, the test event has truly lit up the Olympic fire in the heart of the German arena constructors.