Revised Eventing Format Submitted to IOC for LA 2028 Consideration

The new proposed format for eventing in the Olympics would see cross country held as the final team phase of competition. Photo by Shannon Brinkman.

Horse & Hound has today reported that the FEI has confirmed its submission of a revised eventing format to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which, if approved, will change the look and feel of the sport as we know it in Olympic competition.

Originally proposed in this year’s FEI Eventing Seminar — “The message of the IOC president was very clear: change, or be changed,” FEI president Ingmar de Vos said then — the proposed format will shift to a mixed short-format and long-format event, with cross country being the final phase of team competition. It’s been emphasized that the cross country would still adhere to a longer, championship level of around 10 minutes’ optimum time, but this phase would be run as the final, medal-deciding phase. For individual medals, a fourth day designated for a final show jumping round would be added, making it a long-format — though not in the traditional sense, as competitors competing in the full run of the competition will showjump both the day before, and the day after, cross country.

“The details pertaining to the technical aspects of the proposed format will be discussed in detail next year in the framework of the revision of the FEI regulations for equestrian events at the Olympic Games, once the IOC has provided its feedback,” an FEI spokesperson told Horse & Hound, who reported this news first.

The motivation for placing cross country as the final phase comes from a desire to increase spectator and broadcast appeal, and given the popularity of cross country, making this the finale of the team event is intended to heighten excitement and fan engagement.

It’s to be expected that if approved, this format will take a healthy dose of acceptance as the traditional format of eventing would be pushed further back into the history books. Many riders and sport stakeholders have also expressed a desire for the FEI to abandon its IOC affiliation altogether, at least where eventing is concerned, and instead throw its full support behind the seven CCI5* events around the world.

The next step now will be to wait for the IOC to make its determinations as to the approval of the sport in the LA Olympics – a process for which there’s no clear timeline. There is also the question of a venue that can host the sport — the Eventing Seminar in January made it clear that using an existing all-in-one facility is now a priority for the sport at the Games – though there are several suitable venues that are capable of hosting in the LA area and, in some cases, a pitching process has already begun.

We’ll provide more on this developing story as it becomes available.

Read More: Eventing at LA Olympics Unconfirmed; Subject to Format Change

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