Dr. David Hodgson had scarcely unpacked his bags after journeying from Sydney, Australia, to the United States to assume his new duties as head of the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech when it was time to hop on board another jet bound for Hong Kong.
His quick return to the other side of the planet was involved with preparations to serve as one of about 20 official Olympic Committee veterinarians for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
It is a task he has enjoyed before. Having worked with the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and having been involved with the preparations for the equestrian events at the 1996 games in Atlanta, he is familiar with the grandiosity and the elegance associated with what is considered one of the pinnacle events in all of equestrian sport.
“Having an opportunity to work with these elite athletes, both horse and riders, offers a fascinating dimension of experience,” said Hodgson, who added that the magnitude and scale of the event is truly impressive. “I'm honored to be a part of it. It's been really interesting to see how another side of the industry works.”
About two dozen countries are expected to field more than 200 horses during the Olympics, where equine sports include the three-day event, dressage, and jumping competitions, he said. Each country will bring their own equine veterinarians to assist in the care for their own horses. In addition, the local organizing committee itself is responsible for providing state-of-the-art veterinary facilities with a cadre of "official" veterinarians who are drawn from throughout the world.
Duties range from providing day-to-day veterinary care to provision of emergency management during competition. Hodgson will spend five weeks in Hong Kong next summer engaged with the Olympic effort. During the first three weeks, he and his colleagues will prepare for the games and ensure that the animals are properly quarantined and cared for, and the games themselves will be held during the final two weeks.
While there, he will reside in a major hotel complex adjacent to the Olympic Equestrian venue.
Hodgson earned a B.V.Sc. and a Ph.D. from the University of Sydney. He is a diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) and a Fellow in both the Australasian College of Biomedical Scientists and in the American College of Sports Medicine.
Prior to joining Virginia Tech, Dr. Hodgson also served as head of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences and director of the Veterinary Teaching Hospital at the University of Sydney. He has also held positions at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, Washington State University and the University of Glasgow during a career spanning more than 25 years.
The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine (VMRCVM) is a two-state, three-campus professional school operated by the land-grant universities of Virginia Tech in Blacksburg and the University of Maryland at College Park. Its flagship facilities, based at Virginia Tech, include the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, which treats more than 40,000 animals annually. Other campuses include the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg, Va., and the Avrum Gudelsky Veterinary Center at College Park, home of the Center for Government and Corporate Veterinary Medicine. The VMRCVM annually enrolls approximately 500 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and graduate students, is a leading biomedical and clinical research center, and provides professional continuing education services for veterinarians practicing throughout the two states. Virginia Tech, the most comprehensive university in Virginia, is dedicated to quality, innovation, and results to the commonwealth, the nation, and the world.