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CHIACCHIA WILL RIDE IN ATHENS

The third time was the charm for Darren Chiacchia.

The 1982 graduate of Frontier High School has been officially named to the United States Olympic equestrian team.

"We made this step, but we still have the actual job to do," Chiacchia said. "It feels good right now."

Chiacchia was in the running to be on the Eventing team for the Atlanta Games, but lost two horses to injuries and was the alternate for the Sydney Games.

This time, he and his horse, Windfall 2, a 12-year-old Trakehner stallion, are signed, sealed and delivered as Olympians.

Chiacchia and Windfall 2 put themselves in contention for a spot on the five-person team with wins at the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event in April, the most prestigious competition held in the U.S., and at the Pan-Am Games in Baltimore in October. Their position was solidified at the U.S. Equestrian Federation's final mandatory trial this past week.

"Anything can happen in the world of sports. We all know that no matter what the sport," Chiacchia said. "It's been a long time coming but at the same time I do what I do because I love the sport and my horses. The only purpose is not to achieve Olympic competition. You hope for that and you position yourself so it might happen, but it's not the be-all, end-all. God willing, all will fall into place for us."

Windfall 2 and Chiacchia will be in England next week for training before leaving Aug. 10 for Athens. The Eventing competition takes place Aug. 15-18.

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