The FEI President has welcomed the announcement by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that equestrian sport will be proposed for inclusion in the Olympic programme for the Los Angeles 2028 Games.
During the IOC Executive Board meeting yesterday, the initial list of twenty-eight sports to be recommended the LA28 Initial Sports Programme, which includes equestrian, was agreed and is now subject to final approval at the IOC Session in February 2022. Discussions also focussed on defining the process for finalising the disciplines in each sport offering early certainty to athletes, National Olympic Committees (NOCs), International Federations (IFs) and the Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (OCOG).
Universality, integrity and fairness, gender equality and popularity were highlighted as key requirements of the evaluation criteria which will be used to determine the disciplines and events for the programme, in line with the recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. Athlete safety, environmental sustainability and keeping the sport relevant to youth were also reiterated as significant factors in the decision making process.
“I am confident equestrian sport, a celebration of the unique bond between human and equine athletes, has its place in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games programme,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said.
“The recent endorsement from the IOC following the success of the Tokyo 2020 Games reflected on the positive changes the FEI made, highlighting our willingness to adapt and modernise our sport.
“We had more flags. Universality was one of the key requirements in Agenda 2020 alongside making the sport easier to understand and more exciting for a broader audience – criteria which remain fundamental going forward”
The IOC also published figures this week which revealed the Tokyo 2020 Games reached a global broadcast audience of more than three billion people across linear TV and digital platforms. This significant and rapid growth in the change of the digital landscape, meant more fans were able to experience the Games, with greater accessibility to more content than ever before.
“The collective future of equestrian sport depends on our position in the Olympic movement,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos continued.
“We need to guarantee global visibility of our sport in the media and digital platforms, and continue to showcase relevant content and entice new fans. We have this opportunity every four years and consolidating equestrian sport in the Olympic Movement is crucial for the FEI and for our community.”
“Another key focus for the FEI is Youth development. Keeping the youth engaged in equestrian sport and inspiring new generations to make the Olympic Games their goal. We have robust development programmes around the world targeting the next generation of athletes, but also fans and industry professionals, because equestrian sport is a way of life that is multifaceted and extremely diverse. How we engage with younger generations is vital in our pathway to the future”.
In 2017 when the IOC allocated the 2028 Olympic Games to Los Angeles during the IOC Session in Lima (PER), the FEI President welcomed this great opportunity that this candidate city could deliver the Games in a cost-effective way. The United States have a long and successful equestrian tradition, and has developed as a country with sustained equestrian excellence on an international stage. The equestrian venue in Los Angeles will have the stunning sports backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains and will offer a fantastic opportunity to showcase our sport.
The approval of the Initial Sports Programme will take place in February 2022 and the finalisation of the events and athlete quota will be confirmed in December 2024, following the Olympic Games Paris 2024.