Efforts to maintain equestrian sport’s Olympic appeal and relevance have been given a nod of approval by the International Olympic Committee. On Friday the IOC confirmed that equestrian sport will remain in the Olympic program for the 2024 Games and approved the Olympic formats submitted by the FEI for the Tokyo 2020 Games.
FEI President Ingmar De Vos responded, “The IOC’s confirmation of equestrian on the Olympic programme for the 2024 Games and approval of the new formats for Tokyo 2020 is a direct acknowledgment of our willingness to adapt and modernise our sport, so all the work to drive change and increase universality has been worthwhile.
The FEI voted in support of sweeping Olympic format changes at last year’s FEI General Assembly in Tokyo last November. Most notably, these include a proposal to limit teams to three horse/athlete combinations per nation with no drop score. Under the newly approved format, the active reserve can be substituted into the competition at the beginning of any phase of competition.
An outline of the changes as applied to eventing:
- Teams of three horse/athlete combinations per nation, no drop score
- One reserve combination per team will be allowed. The reserve combination is an important element of the proposal in order to preserve horse welfare. If a reserve combination is substituted, it will incur a penalty for the team. The exact penalty will be finalised in the Olympic Regulations
- Maximum of two individuals per nation not represented by a team
- Order of tests to remain unchanged (1st Dressage; 2nd Cross Country; 3rd Jumping Team; 4th Jumping Individual)
- Olympic Eventing to take place over three days (Dressage test reduced to one day)
- Technical level of the three tests to be defined as the “Olympic level”: Dressage and Jumping 4*; Cross Country: 10-minute optimum time, 45 jumping efforts, and 3* technical difficulty
- Qualification of athletes/horses to be achieved on the same Cross Country technical level to ensure implementation of the recommendations of the FEI Independent Audit in Eventing
- For the purpose of the Team classification only: any horse/athlete combinations not completing a test can continue to the next test if accepted as fit to compete at the relevant Horse Inspection
- For the purpose of the Team classification only: penalties for the non-completion of a test for any reason, Dressage =100 points, Cross Country = 150, Jumping = 100
- Rules for the Individual event remain unchanged
“Approval of the formats for Tokyo means that we can now increase the number of flags in equestrian sport in line with the Agenda 2020 recommendations,” said De Vos. “With more than 30,000 athletes registered to compete in our three Olympic disciplines – and the numbers are growing every year – our new formats mean that athletes from more countries than ever before will now have the opportunity of one day realising their dream of representing their country at the Olympic Games.
“It wasn’t easy for our community to make such drastic changes to our Olympic formats, but the National Federations knew the importance of this decision and ultimately supported the proposed changes. Their willingness to embrace this change is without any doubt the reason we have got this fantastic news from the IOC today.”