Horse sport listed for 2028 Olympics: work ahead to secure disciplines’ places

  • Equestrian sport is proposed for inclusion at the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, but there are new hoops for disciplines to jump through to secure places at the Games.

    This means that although horse sport is likely to be included, there are at present no guarantees on individual disciplines for any of the 28 sports on the list. A question mark hangs over modern pentathlon’s spot at the Olympics.

    FEI president Ingmar De Vos said he is “confident” equestrianism has its place at the 2028 Games.

    “The collective future of equestrian sport depends on our position in the Olympic movement,” he added.

    The next step is the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) session in February 2022, at which the sports will be proposed, followed by a discipline review process.

    This features six areas, in line with the Olympic Agenda 2020+5 recommendations – essentially a set of criteria disciplines will be marked against. In simple terms, this means that while horse sport is listed for inclusion, it cannot be assumed that dressage, showjumping and eventing’s place at the 2028 Olympics is a given.

    The criteria for the 2028 discipline review are: cost and complexity, popularity and host country interest, uniqueness, universality, gender equality and relevance for young people, best athletes and athlete safety, integrity and fairness, and environmental sustainability.

    The events and athlete quotas will be finalised in December 2024.

    “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,” said Mr De Vos.

    “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”.

    Reflecting on how important it is for horse sport’s future that it remains within the Games, he added: “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”.

    Modern pentathlon: what next?

    Modern pentathlon’s international governing body (UIPM) has been told changes must be made, including finalising the proposal for its overall competition format as well as the replacement of the riding phase, if it is to be considered for the 2028 Games.

    It has also been instructed to demonstrate a “significant reduction in cost and complexity and an improvement across the areas of safety, accessibility, universality and appeal for young people and the general public” if it is to be included.

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