Horse sport’s place at Paris 2024 Olympics confirmed by IOC

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King Louis XIV’s Palace will be the backdrop to the equestrian venue of Versailles for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games.
King Louis XIV’s Palace will be the backdrop to the equestrian venue of Versailles for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. © Samuli Suomi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The full quota of horses and riders for all three Olympic equestrian disciplines has been confirmed for the Paris 2024 Games, which returns to the French city for the first time in exactly 100 years.

The announcement confirming that Jumping, Dressage and Eventing would be part of the 2024 Olympics was made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board online meeting on Monday.

Individual International Federations were also provided with details of the event programme and athlete quotas for their sport in an official letter from IOC Director General Christophe De Kepper. The six events – team and individual across each of the three disciplines – and the full quota of 200 athlete/horse combinations have also been endorsed.

The ratification means that equestrian will keep its quota of 75 athlete/horse combinations for Jumping, 65 for Eventing and 60 for Dressage.

Swiss showjumper Alphonse Gemuseus, riding Lucette, won individual gold at team silver at the 1924 Olympic Games.
Swiss showjumper Alphonse Gemuseus, riding Lucette, won individual gold and team silver at the 1924 Olympic Games. © FEI

It will be the second time Paris has hosted an Olympic Games, with the first, in 1924 widely regarded as a major success. It was the first Games to be broadcast over radio, and featured a host of sporting stars who are still household names today, including British runners Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddell, who inspired the film Chariots of Fire, US swimmer Johnny Weissmuller, later of Tarzan movie fame, and the “Flying Finns” of track and field, Paavo Nurmi and Ville Ritola.

Just 14 nations took part in the three equestrian disciplines that were held at the Hippodrome d’Auteuil, under the auspices of the FEI, which had been founded in 1921.

As well as the horse sports, there was another equestrian connection with the 1924 Olympics. The completely refurbished Olympic Stadium was formerly a racecourse until it was converted for athletics use in 1907.

The 1924 Olympic Stadium was formerly a racecourse.
The 1924 Olympic Stadium was formerly a racecourse. © FEI

That year was also the last Olympic appearance for Tennis (which returned to the Olympic programme at Seoul in 1988) and Rugby (which returned at Rio 2016).

FEI President and IOC Member Ingmar De Vos said horse sport’s international governing body was very happy to receive formal approval of the three disciplines for Paris 2024, and also confirmation that the athlete quota remained untouched at 200.

Sweden's General Ernst von Linder riding Piccolomini won dressage gold at the 1924 Olympics.
Sweden’s General Ernst von Linder riding Piccolomini won dressage gold at the 1924 Olympics. There was no team event. © FEI

“This confirmation is also a token of appreciation for the efforts the FEI and the equestrian community have made to increase the fan base and improve digital figures for our sport.

“We really appreciate that the IOC didn’t touch our quota as we knew they needed to reduce the overall Games-wide quota to 10,500 athletes, but our sport has grown so much over the last decade that a reduction of our quota would have been detrimental to the universality of our Olympic competitions.”

The equestrian events will be staged in the grounds of Versailles, with King Louis XIV’s Palace as a backdrop at one of the French capital’s most iconic Games time venues. The UNESCO World Heritage Site will also be the site for Modern Pentathlon.

Equestrian judges at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games.
Equestrian judges at the 1924 Paris Olympic Games. © FEI

 

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