Every four years, the Olympics, summer or winter, feature the remarkable accomplishments by the Games athletes. Lost behind those headlines are people like Invermeres Pedro Cebulka who made his sixth Olympics appearance at the Rio Games working as a ringmaster for the equestrian events.
Growing up in Germany, Mr. Cebulka didnt always dream of becoming a ringmaster. Instead, he started his professional career as a banker before travelling to Brazil in 1976 where he stayed for five months. It was there that he decided banking was no longer the route for him, discovering an interest in show jumping upon his arrival in Canada a year later.
Since then, Mr. Cebulka has worked relentlessly to become one of the top ringmasters around the world, getting his first chance at an Olympic venue during the 1996 summer games in Atlanta. Since then hes made stops at each successive Olympic Games including Australia, Greece, China and the United Kingdom before being invited to Rio de Janeiro.
Despite the headlines surrounding this years Games, Mr. Cebulka said his experience in Rio was nothing like the negative perception many had of the event.
There was some talk about Rio not being ready with this venue and that venue and corruption, but when I got there I thought that everything was fine, he said. This is my sixth Olympics and I have to say this (in Rio) has to be the nicest, the cleanest, most spacious stables of any of them and that was voiced by all of the international riders.
Mr. Cebulka said that travelling back to Brazil where it all started for him and where he became known as Pedro, not his birth name Peter was a great experience catching up with many old friends.
I like to say its kind of like homecoming, he said. There are so many friends who Ive worked with and they come and introduce themselves and say theyve met me at all these different places and its so nice to meet people with all the same interests.
What he enjoys most, he said, is the ability to communicate with the best crop of riders in the world while watching them achieve their life-long dreams. Although hes worked as a ringmaster for 40 years now, hes quick to point out that it takes years to achieve this level of success just as it does for the world-class athletes competing at the Olympics.
It doesnt matter what you do with your life, when you work with the best in the world in their field, you always learn something, he said. If you go out running with Usain Bolt, youre definitely going to learn something, but I was lucky enough and fortunate enough to get this position and you learn from dedication. You dont get a gold medal by just being lucky once. Theres a lifetime of dedication and commitment, hardships and things you cannot do. Often people see all the glory but 99 per cent of the time you lose and one per cent you win.
Arriving back to Canada this past week, Mr. Cebulka said he has already been asked and is planning to attend the next summer games held in Tokyo, Japan four years from now.
As long as I can do it, I will do it and once I see that Im missing things as I get older, then I wont do it because you have to be the best, you have to be top of the world to be fair to the athletes and not ruin their chances at the competition, he said.