From the 28th of February to the 1st of March 2009, Orlando held its first ever Doglympics!
Teena Patel, founder and CEO of the University of Doglando, was the organizer for this spectacular doggie event that had dogs of all ages and sizes competing against each other in flying disc competitions, potato sack races and other exciting events.
But this Doglympics was not just for the athlete dog! There were events for both doggie novices and serious doggie competitors too.
Teena Patel explained: “You’re encompassing both; it’s something for pet owners to do, as well as [for] competition dogs to do.”
The Doglympics saw more than 200 different dog teams from all over the USA and Canada competing against each other. It is interesting to note, however, that these Doglympics is actually the first doggie event of its kinds that held a variety of canine-focused sports in one central location.
“This is kind of the mall of dog sports because you can go somewhere and get everything all at once,” stated Matt DiAno, flying disc champion.
DiAno and his dog had tough competition in the flying disc event: there was a total of 79 teams competing for gold, silver and bronze medals.
“We were here from 7 o’clock until 7:30 yesterday and there were people in the stands the entire day,” DiAno said.
One of the main reasons that there were so many spectators was because of speedy events, such as competitive lure course racing, keeping the spectators enthralled all day long.
Almost all dogs have fun running the lure course race, in which they chase after a tied up plastic bag (the lure) right around an oval track. The dogs either compete against themselves in an attempt to beat their own time, or they compete against each other.
“Almost any breed can do this lure coursing,” said Shelley Holland, a lure course racing participant. “It’s really open to all dogs and we’re always surprised at the dogs and ‘How can they love a plastic bag,’ you know?”
There were, however, a few events that were geared towards the more amateur of doggie athletes. Such as the musical chairs and the potato sack race. Michelle Snider’s Daschund, Hershey, won the potato sack race. In order to win this race, Hershey had to run from the starting line to a 50 meter mark, where his handler was waiting standing inside a potato sack. Hershey’s handler then had to jump back in the potato sack to the starting line.
“It’s great! We watched the herding and some of the disc and it’s just been neat to see what the different breeds can do.” said Michelle.
The Doglympics also showcased the amazing talents of the 2009 Central Florida Flying Disc Challenge and Team MaddMac Lure Coursing team. The Central Florida Flying Disc Challenge was an open-invitational canine Frisbee tournament that had competitors from across the USA and Canada competing for the title of ‘Top Disc-Dog’.
Other events included:
The Doggy Dash: In this event pairs of dogs raced against each other with the winning dog advancing to the next round. A steward holds each dog at the starting line and releases them as soon as the Judge says, ‘Ready, steady go!’ In order to win a dog has to be the first one to sit across the Finish Line. They then advance to the second round. If, however, a dog leaves their racing line, they are automatically disqualified. The dogs who win the second round then move onto the quarter finals, until there are only two dogs left competing against each other for the ultimate winner.
The Recall Relay: This event is comprised of two teams of four dogs each that race against each other, with the team that wins advancing to the next round. Handlers walk across the field, approximately 10 yards away, whilst their dogs are either instructed to Sit and Stay, or they are held by other team members behind the Start Line. In most cases these doggie team have a handler because after three false starts, the whole team is then eliminated from the race.
The 6 Legged Race: Here a dog and his handler had to run together for 50 meters whilst the handler holds an egg on a spoon in their mouth the whole way without dropping it.
The Longest Stay: For well trained dogs, this event is a breeze! Their handler instructs them to stay in either a sit position or a sit/down position. The dog that is able to sit and stay in that position is the winner.
3 Mile Run/Walk: This is the easiest of the races: the winners are determined by which ever dog and handler team finishes the race first.
The Olympic Ring: For this event, there are 4 stations that are spread approximately 25 meters apart. At the first station the handlers have to do 5 jumping jacks; at the second station the handlers have to do 5 push ups; at the third station the handlers have to do 5 sit ups; the fourth station is for the dogs to do a 10 second stay. The winners are the first dog and handler team that completes the requirements at each station and runs back to the finish line.
There was also breed specific races for Dachshunds’, Jack Russells’, Italian Greyhounds’ and races for Yorkshire Terriers’.
Teena has high hopes for the Doglympics: “I would love for this to grow into a grooming competition, an obedience competition as well as confirmation,” she said.