EQUESTRIAN sport is officially confirmed in the ‘Initial Sports Programme’ for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.

The confirmation came on Thursday during the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in Beijing, China, and followed the announcement by the IOC in December that equestrian sport was among the 28 sports proposed.

“We are delighted with this confirmation, which is a glowing endorsement of the valuable contribution and legacy that equestrian sport brings to the Olympic movement” said FEI President Ingmar De Vos.

“However, this is only a first step. The equestrian disciplines for LA 2028 will be decided mid-2023 and the equestrian events and the quota for LA will only be decided after Paris 2024”.

Universality, integrity and fairness, gender equality and popularity were highlighted as key requirements of the evaluation criteria 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.

“We are committed to deliver successful sport at the Olympics and are passionate about universality and growing our sport to reach new audiences and develop talent around the world,” De Vos continued.

“Youth participation and development play a key role in this process, and will ensure we have a diverse and inclusive equestrian community for young people to grow, progress and strive for Olympic greatness.

“The youth are the future and with equestrian sport in the LA 2028 programme, a youth focused Games, it’s an added incentive for our ambitious young athletes to prepare to showcase their talent on the biggest world stage. Consolidation of our place in the LA 2028 Olympic programme will keep the equestrian community strong and resilient in this competitive sporting landscape.”

As reported in November, the three to a team format for equestrian sport seen in Tokyo will remain in place for Paris 2024. The format was approved at the FEI General Assembly in Antwerp, Belgium when some 70 National Federations voted for a team of three, while 30 (including the Irish NF) voted against.

The overwhelming vote in favour of the three-person format came despite former Olympic show jumping champion Steve Guerdat and former Olympic dressage champion Isabell Werth both speaking passionately at the FEI General Assembly about returning to a team of four.

Modern Pentathlon not included

The sport of Modern Pentathlon does not appear on the list of 28 sports for Los Angeles. The sport, which was introduced at the 5th Olympiad in Stockholm in 1912, is currently undergoing controversy following the announcement that horse riding would be replaced by another sport after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

However, the IOC said Modern Pentathlon “may potentially” be included by the IOC Session in 2023 “if by then the respective IFs (international federations) have demonstrated to the IOC’s satisfaction that they have satisfactorily addressed the areas specified by the EB on 9 December 2021.”

The areas specified are: “The UIPM must finalise its proposal for the replacement of horse riding and the overall competition format, and 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.”

Tokyo cost $13.6 billion

In delivering their final report to the IOC during the session, which coincided with the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in Beijing, the Organising Committee of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics said the Games were a success and had “a positive impact and legacy of the Games that will benefit generations to come.”

Several independent opinion surveys in Japan and globally found that these positive assessments are widely shared. In an international survey, 65% of the respondents rated the Tokyo Games a success. A September poll conducted in Japan by a media outlet showed that nearly 80% of Japanese residents had positive views about the Games.

The Olympic sport programme in Tokyo was the largest in history, with 33 sports competitions in 42 venues culminating in 339 medal events. Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto also underlined that a revised budget, based on a provisional accounts settlement, showed additional savings of $1.8 billion, for a total expenditure of $13.6 billion.