More than 10,000 athletes are descending on London this week for the Summer Olympics, including global names like Usain Bolt, Oscar Pistorius and Michael Phelps.
But the one athlete that is seemingly under stricter guard than any other — sequestered outside London for training, with the public and news media not allowed to lay eyes on her — is a horse.
Rafalca, a 15-year-old mare from Germany, is owned in part by Ann Romney, wife of the presumptive Republican candidate for president. On the eve of the opening ceremony, the equestrian horse represents an exceedingly unusual collision of national politics and the Olympics, making her an unlikely celebrity in a sport not unaccustomed to the highest reaches of society and royal splendor.
Before the equestrian competitions begin at Greenwich Park — one of the royal parks of London that counts foxes and deer on its vast expanses of green just southeast of the city center — Rafalca will gain international attention in this Olympic host city. Mitt Romney is expected to meet Friday with United States athletes as Rafalca settles into the stables in Greenwich Park. She spent the past few weeks at Layham Hall, a private dressage facility in Suffolk, England, after arriving by plane.Page 1 of 11 | Next Page