Twelve years after representing his native Belgium in the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Dalton-area carpet baron Carl Bouckaert will be in the equestrian competition again this month at the London Games.
The 58-year-old Bouckaert was selected last week as one of five members of the Belgian three-day eventing team. He is one of the founders and owners of Beaulieu Group LLC, the third largest carpet mill in the United States.
"This is certainly exciting for our company, the Dalton area and the state of Georgia to have Carl as a competitor in this year's Olympics," Beaulieu CEO Ralph Boe said in a company release.
According to the release, eventing involves consecutive days of dressage (precision riding), cross country timed jumping and stadium show jumping. Leading up to the team's selection, Bouckaert has spent three months in intensive training in Europe.
The Olympic equestrian competition begins July 28 at Greenwich Park, London's oldest royal park.
Bouckaert has competed since his childhood in Belgium, where he attended engineering school at the University of Louvain before moving to the United States in 1978. After competing in national and international events in the U.S. and Canada, he represented his native country at the European Championship in Italy in 1995.
That was the first of six European Championships for him; he was part of bronze-medal teams in 1999 and 2003. He also rode for Belgium in World Equestrian Games in 1998 and 2006 and was on the team short list for WEG 2010 in Kentucky, and he has been in two World Cup Finals.