Tag Archives: Olympic Games

Jumping Looks Set to Be a Testing Thriller

Nick Skelton (GBR) celebrates his gold medal win at the Rio 2016 Games with Big Star.  FEI/Eric Knoll.

Tokyo 2020 is one of the most talked-about Olympic Games of all time, and as it arrives on our doorsteps a year late and filled with challenges, for the stars of international Jumping, the questions are clear.

How will the three-rider no-drop-score format play out in the battle for the Team medals? And is there anyone to get in the way of the pair who claimed individual silver at the World Equestrian Games in 2018 and the individual European title a year later – Martin Fuchs and his super-horse Clooney – when it comes to glorious individual gold?

With so few team competition opportunities in the lead-up to these Games, it’s difficult to make any predictions. However, if the Division 1 Nations Cups that took place last month are anything to go by, then the on-form countries are Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, and The Netherlands.

A total of 75 athletes will be chasing down their individual dreams when the action begins at Baji Koen on 3 August, and athletes from 19 countries will be giving it everything they’ve got when the team contest gets underway on 6 August. It will be a fascinating four days of Olympic equestrian sport.

Defending champions

Team France are the defending champions having clinched gold for only the second time in Olympic history at the Rio 2016 Games, and Penelope Leprevost is the only member of that victorious team to line out again at Tokyo 2020 where she will be joined by Mathieu Billot and Nicolas Delmotte. Silver went to the USA five years ago, while Germany won out in a thrilling jump-off against Canada for the bronze.

Comeback king Nick Skelton won Britain’s first Olympic Individual title in Rio with Big Star, a phenomenal and emotional achievement for the 58-year-old athlete who had broken his neck in a fall 16 years earlier. Silver went to Sweden’s Peder Fredricson and the brilliant All In, and this pair – who won the individual European title in 2017 – will be joined by Malin Baryard-Johnson and her feisty mare Indiana and Henrik von Eckermann with King Edward in Tokyo.

The British have two of the team that secured Olympic gold for their country for the first time in 60 years in London in 2012, and both Scott Brash (Hello Jefferson) and Ben Maher (Explosion W) also look well set to challenge strongly for the individual medals.

But the Team and Individual line-ups are crammed full of winners, the Americans buoyed up by their victory at the FEI World Equestrian Games™, Belgium bolstered by their success at the 2019 European Championships and the Irish full of determination after clinching both Olympic qualification and the series title at the FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Final later that year.

Record

Germany holds the record for the greatest number of Olympic gold medals, with five Individual and eight team titles since Jumping joined the Olympic programme in 1900. And with world number one Daniel Deusser (Killer Queen), Christian Kukuk (Mumbai), and Andre Thieme (DSP Chakaria) showing fantastic form, they are going to be mighty competitive once again.

Meanwhile, with world number two Fuchs, world number three Steve Guerdat, who claimed the individual title in London nine years ago, and FEI World Cup Final 2007 winner Beat Mandli in their mix, the Swiss also look fairly unstoppable.

But the hosts from Japan can’t be overlooked. They finished sixth in Olympic-level company at the last of the four legs of the FEI Nations Cup series in Rotterdam just two weeks ago and under the stewardship of German legend Paul Schockemohle, and mounted on some fabulous horses, Daisuke Fukushima (Chanyon), Koki Saito (Chilensky), and Eiken Sato (Saphyr des Lacs) will be giving it more than their all on home soil when the Games begin.

They’ve only ever taken one Olympic medal, when Takeichi Nishi came out on top with Uranus in Los Angeles in 1932. That was an interesting Games because, staged in the throes of a world-wide depression, only three teams showed up – Mexico, the USA, who were considered big favourites, and a Swedish side made up of their Eventing squad. And not one of them finished.

There were three riders on each team and American chances were dashed when Lt John Wofford was eliminated. So when Sweden’s Lt Arne Francke suffered the same fate along with all of the Mexicans, no team medals were awarded. But Japanese Baron, Takeichi Nishi, produced a brilliant ride with his French-bred horse to take the Individual honours.

There will be three riders per team this time around as well, so just like back in 1932 when mistakes proved more than costly, there will be no room for error in the team competition, and Individual glory will go to only the best of the best.

How it will play out…

There will be two Individual Competitions and two Team Competitions, taking place on different days.

The first Individual competition takes place on Tuesday 3 August and is a qualifier for the Individual Final the following day. It will be Table A not against the clock and without a jump-off. Athletes will place according to their penalties and in case of a tie they will be separated by the time of their round. If still tied, they will be placed equal.

The Individual Final is open to the 30 best-placed athletes from the first Individual competition and will be Table A, one round against the clock, with a jump-off for the medal placings if there is a tie on penalties. All athletes start on a zero score in the Individual Final and starting order will be in reverse order of merit following the first Individual competition.

The first Team competition is open to 19 teams of three athletes and all teams will start on a zero score. It will take place on 6 August and is a qualifier for the Team Final on 7 August. It will be Table A not against the clock and without a jump-off in the event of equality of penalties for first place. Disqualification of one athlete will result in the disqualification of their entire team.

Team scores will be decided by adding the penalties incurred by all three team members. Athletes who withdraw, are eliminated, or retire from the competition will not be given a score and their team will be placed according to the combined scores of the remaining two team-members. Three-member teams will be placed ahead of teams of two.

The best 10 teams, including those tied for 10th place, will qualify for the Team Final which will be Table A not against the clock over one round with a jump-off in the event of equality of penalties for the medal placings. Starting order will be in reverse order of merit from the first Team competition.

After the first two athletes from each team have competed there will be a compulsory 20-minute break. An intermediate classification of the teams will decide the starting order of each team’s third athlete.

One substitution of an athlete/horse combination is permitted per team. Substitutes are not permitted to compete in a jump-off.

THE FULL LIST here.

FEI Olympic Hub HERE.

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Jung Aims to Make More History with a Hat-Trick of Gold

Germany’s Michael Jung rides his 2019 European Championship horse fischerChipmunk FRH in Luhmuhlen, (GER) and is aiming to make history with a hat-trick gold in Tokyo (JPN). FEI/ Oliver Hardt/Getty Images.

After Germany’s Michael Jung won the second of his two consecutive Individual Olympic Equestrian Eventing titles at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, he was asked what he had next in his sights. “Tokyo 2020 of course, and the Europeans and maybe the world title along the way!” he replied.

He wasn’t joking of course, because the 38-year-old who made Eventing history by becoming the first to hold the European, Olympic, and World Championship titles at the same time is one of the most formidable athletes in all of equestrian sport.

He didn’t make it to the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018 when his horse had an injury, but at the FEI European Championships the following year, he took team gold and was just pipped at the post for the individual title by team-mate Ingrid Klimke.

This is a man who sets the bar really high for everyone else, and if he can do the individual hat-trick in Tokyo, then he will set a new Olympic record. Charles Pahud de Mortanges from The Netherlands came out on top in Amsterdam in 1928 and again at the following Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932, and New Zealand’s Mark Todd won in Los Angeles in 1984 and again in Seoul in 1988. Both riders partnered the same horse on each occasion, the Dutchman riding Marcroix and the Kiwi riding the legendary Charisma.

Jung was also riding the same horse, the mighty Sam, when coming out on top at London 2012 and the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. This time around he will partner his 2019 European Championship horse Chipmunk, and the world waits to see what more magic he can bring.

Team silver

He’ll be joined on the German team by two of the three athletes who helped clinch team silver in Rio, Sandra Auffarth (Viamant du Matz) and Julia Krajewski (Armande de B’Neville). However, it is the French who line out as defending team champions, with Thomas Carlile (Birmane), Nicolas Touzaint (Absolut Gold HDC), and Christopher Six (Totem de Brecey) flying the flag for Les Bleus.

The British arrive as reigning world champions with the world number one, Oliver Townend (Ballaghmore Class), number five Tom McEwen (Toledo de Kerser), and number 22 Laura Collet (London 52) in their side, backed up last-minute replacement reserve Ros Canter with Allstar B, the horse she rode to individual gold at the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018. There’s great strength in depth in this selection, while the Irish world silver medallists, and the Kiwi side that includes husband-and-wife Tim and Jonelle Price, also look highly competitive.

But there are further Olympic records hanging in the balance. Australia’s Andrew Hoy, Shane Rose, and Stuart Tinney have 166 years of life experience and eight Olympic medals between them. And 62-year-old Hoy could make Olympic history by becoming the first athlete to win gold medals an incredible 29 years apart. He won his first team gold in Barcelona in 1992 and if he could do it again, he’d break the all-time record set by Hungarian fencer Aladár Gerevich, who triumphed in 1932 and 1960.

Hoy went on to win two more team golds, at Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000, and just by turning up in Tokyo he will set an Australian record with his eighth Olympic appearance since his debut in Los Angeles in 1984 at the age of 25.

Changes

The sport of Eventing has been subject to many changes down the years, and at the Tokyo 2020 Games there will be a new and shorter Dressage test, which will take just under four minutes to complete. The Dressage and Jumping phases will be staged at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre in the city, while the Cross Country action will be held at Sea Forest Park in Tokyo Bay.

Following the Ready Steady Tokyo Equestrian Test event staged at Sea Forest in August 2019, during which an FEI official climate impact study and horse monitoring project took place, the Cross Country course was shortened to approximately eight minutes.

It’s all a long way from the first time Eventing was included in the Olympic programme back in 1912 in Stockholm when the competition began with Phase A, “an Endurance ride over 55km in four hours,” and Phase B, “Cross-country over 5km in 15 minutes with 12 obstacles.”

After a rest day, the all-military competitors then set out to tackle “Steeplechase over 3,500m in 5 minutes and 50 seconds with 10 obstacles,” while on day four there was “Jumping over 15 obstacles up to 1.30m high and 3.00m wide,” before finally finishing up on day five with “Dressage.” From seven starting teams, four completed and Sweden took both Team and Individual gold.

Times have indeed moved on, but the partnership between horse and athlete remains at the heart of equestrian sport, and in Olympic Eventing that partnership is at its zenith.

How it will play out….

The Team and Individual competitions will run concurrently on consecutive days as follows: Dressage test (over two days, 30/31 July), Cross Country test (1 August), and First Jumping Competition (2 August) to determine the Team classification.

The Individual Final Jumping test will take place after the Team Jumping Final on the same day (2 August), with the top 25 battling it out for the medals.

Eventing Dressage and Jumping will both be staged at Baji Koen Equestrian Centre, with horses travelling to Sea Forest Park for Cross Country day.

To enable a finish by just after 11.00, the start time on Cross Country day will be 07.45 JST.

Horses can be substituted for the team competition, and a horse/athlete combination may be substituted by a reserve combination for medical/veterinarian reasons in any of the three tests after the start of the competition.

The top 25 horse/athlete combinations go through to the Individual Final.

The athlete rides the same horse throughout for the Individual classification.

There will be two horse inspections – on 29 July, the day before the Dressage phase begins, and on 2 August before the final Jumping phase takes place.

A drawn starting order will be used for the Dressage and Cross-Country tests but in the final Jumping test horse/athlete combinations will go in reverse order of merit.

The full list HERE.

FEI Olympic Hub HERE.

by Louise Parkes

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Executive Advisor
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Olivia Robinson
Director, Communications
olivia.robinson@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 35

Shannon Gibbons
Manager, Media Relations & Media Operations
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Horses Really Can Fly, Even If They’re Not Called Pegasus

Photo: Haneda history-making: the first full cargo load of horses ever to land in Tokyo’s Haneda airport ready for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Equestrian competitions. © FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi.

Can horses fly? Well yes, they can if they’re Olympic athletes!

In a piece of history-making, 36 of them flew into Japan last night – the first full cargo load of horses ever to land in Haneda, the waterfront airport that serves the greater Tokyo area and which is now welcoming a very different group of Olympic athletes.

“To see these horses arriving at Haneda airport is a truly historic occasion, and what makes it even more special is that these are not simply horses; they are Olympic horses,” Administrator of Tokyo International Airport Takahashi Koji said. “It’s a really big night for the airport, and particularly for the cargo team, and we see it as one of the major milestones of the final countdown to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.”

The four-legged time travellers are all Equestrian Dressage horses and include some Olympic superstars, among them Bella Rose, the mare ridden by Germany’s Isabell Werth, the most decorated Olympic equestrian athlete of all time.

Also landing at Haneda en route to the stunning equestrian venue at Baji Koen, owned by the Japan Racing Association, is Gio, the ride of double Olympic champion Charlotte Dujardin (GBR), who will be bidding for a three-in-a-row title in Tokyo.

The 36 equine passengers will be flying the flag for teams from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Great Britain, Netherlands, Portugal, and host nation Japan, as well as individuals from Brazil, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, and Morocco. They will be joined by a further group of Equestrian Dressage stars flying into Tokyo.

The first Olympic flight out of Europe saw the horses travelling from Liege in Belgium, where there’s even a special airport horse hotel, flying on an Emirates SkyCargo Boeing 777-F to Dubai, a 90-minute refuel and crew change and then on to Tokyo.

From a sustainability perspective, Emirates has implemented a number of initiatives to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions where operationally feasible, including its long-standing operation of flexible routings in partnership with air navigation service providers to create the most efficient flight plan for each flight. The airline, which operates one of the world’s youngest aircraft fleets, also uses advanced data analytics, machine learning, and AI in its fuel monitoring and aircraft weight management programmes.

Like human passengers, all horses travel with a passport. They will already have undergone a 60-day health surveillance period prior to a seven-day pre-export quarantine. They all also have an export health certificate and are thoroughly checked over by veterinarians prior to boarding.

Business class travel

The horses fly two per pallet, or flying stable, which is the equivalent of business class. Their comfort and safety is ensured by flying grooms and an on-board veterinarian. Unlike two-legged passengers, the horses not only get their in-flight meals (including special meal requests of course), but are able to snack throughout the trip, on hay or haylage, except when they are taking a nap.

So as they are flying business class, does that mean the horses get flat beds to sleep in? Although horses might occasionally indulge in a spot of lying down to snooze in the sun at home, they actually sleep standing up. They have something called the “stay apparatus,” which allows tendons and ligaments to effectively lock the knees and hocks (in the hind legs) so that they don’t fall over while they’re dozing off. So there’s no need for flat beds on the flight.

A total of 325 horses will be flown into Tokyo across the two Games and the complex logistics for this massive airlift have been coordinated by transport agents, Peden Bloodstock, which has been in charge of Olympic and Paralympic horse transport since Rome 1960 and is the Official Equine Logistics Partner of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), global governing body for equestrian sport. Peden Bloodstock became title partner of the FEI Best Athlete Award in 2019.

A convoy of 11 state-of-the-art air-conditioned horse trucks, owned by the Japanese Racing Association, transported the precious equine cargo – and 13,500 kilograms of equipment – on the final transfer from Haneda to Baji Koen where the equine superstars had the chance to settle into their Olympic Athlete Village, a.k.a. the stables.

“Like all the athletes arriving into Tokyo for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the horses are honed and ready to compete on the sporting world’s biggest stage,” FEI President Ingmar De Vos said. “After all the challenges the world has faced, finally we’re almost there and now it’s only a matter of days before we hear those magical words, ‘Let the Games begin!’”

Equestrian sport in Tokyo 2020

A record number of countries – 50 – will be competing in the equestrian events at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games following the introduction of new formats that limit teams to three members, meaning that more countries will have the opportunity to compete on the Olympic stage than ever before.

A total of seven countries will be fielding full teams in all three Olympic disciplines, including the host nation Japan. The others are Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Sweden, and United States of America.

Unique gender equality

Equestrian is the only sport in the Olympic movement in which men and women compete head to head throughout the Games, making it a totally gender neutral sport. And the FEI doesn’t need a policy regarding transgender athletes as there are no requirements for our athletes to state their gender in order to participate in FEI competitions, or at the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Equestrian is not a gender-affected sport that relies on the physical strength, stamina, and physique of an athlete as there are no gender based biological advantages. Success in equestrian is largely determined by the unique bond between horse and athlete and refined communication with the horse.

Sustainability

Sustainability is a key theme across the Games, and equestrian is very much a part of that. In line with Pillar 1 of the IOC Sustainability Strategy: Minimum Environmental Burden, the redevelopment of the Japan Racing Association-owned Baji Koen Park as the equestrian venue for Tokyo 2020 has minimised environmental impact and ensured the legacy of the venue used for the Tokyo Games in 1964.

“The original plan for equestrian put forward by the Tokyo Organising Committee was for a totally temporary venue in the Tokyo Bay area, but when the FEI was consulted on this as an option, we pushed for the alternative which was to re-use the 1964 Olympic equestrian venue at Baji Koen,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez says. “This was the optimal choice from a sustainability perspective as it minimises environmental impact, but it also ensures the legacy of this wonderful venue.”

The Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic & Paralympic Games (TOCOG) has incorporated a further sustainability initiative into the equestrian venue with the incineration of used bedding from the horses’ stables for power generation.

Aligned with Pillar 2 of the IOC Sustainability Strategy: Urban environment plans harmonising with nature, only native species that integrate well with local flora and fauna have been planted at the Sea Forest cross country venue. This includes the use of a native grass species, Zoysia japonica, for the footing on the course itself.

Click here for more information on Equestrian at the Olympic Games.

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

FEI European Championships in Olympic & Paralympic Disciplines Cancelled for 2021

The FEI European Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines of Jumping, Eventing, Dressage, and Para Dressage will not be held in 2021 due to the revised dates for the Tokyo Games next year. European Championships in the non-Olympic disciplines will still be organised in 2021.

The Hungarian capital of Budapest had been due to play host to five disciplines next summer – Jumping, Dressage, Para Dressage, Driving, and Vaulting – from 23 August to 5 September. However, the proximity of the Championships to the rescheduled Olympic and Paralympic Games has meant that it is no longer feasible to run Jumping, Dressage, and Para Dressage. As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations of the first FEI European Driving Championships in Budapest back in 1971, the Organisers will maintain both Driving and Vaulting next year.

The FEI European Eventing Championships 2021 were scheduled to take place from 11-15 August at Haras du Pin (FRA), venue for the Eventing test of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014, but the decision has been made to cancel the Championships following the postponement of Tokyo 2020.

The new dates for the Tokyo Olympic Games are 23 July to 8 August 2021 and the Paralympic Games will run from 24 August through to 5 September 2021.

The FEI Board has agreed that the bid process for the European Championships 2021 in these four disciplines will not be reopened, as all organisers would face the same challenges of trying to host major Championships so close to the Tokyo Games.

“Together with the Organising Committees of both Budapest and Haras du Pin, as well as the Hungarian and French National Federations, we have examined every possible option to try and save the Championships in 2021,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said, “but we have reached the regrettable decision that it simply is not possible to have these important events so close to the Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.

“While there are some nations that have enough horsepower to send strong teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games and also to the European Championships across the four disciplines, we have to offer a level playing field to all eligible countries and we simply cannot do that in this case, so we have agreed that the focus should be on Tokyo next year.

“Of course, it is desperately disappointing to lose these Championships from the 2021 Calendar, but we will continue to support Budapest with their double Europeans for Driving and Vaulting.”

The FEI Secretary General has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar and is currently chairing the eight discipline-specific Task Forces that have been set up to seek ways of mitigating the effect of the current Covid-19 pandemic on the FEI Calendar, including the knock-on effects into 2021.

“It was the very first time that a Central European country had won the opportunity to organise the prestigious FEI multidiscipline European Championships, Dorottya Stróbl, Member of the Managing Board of the Budapest Organising Committee and Secretary General of the Hungarian National Federation, said. “We strongly believed that the event would serve as a high motivation for the owners and sponsors in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries and promote the sport towards the elite level, but we understand that the significant challenges of holding major FEI Championships in the Olympic and Paralympic disciplines in the year of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, has meant that unfortunately cancellation was inevitable. However, we will continue to work to ensure the very highest level of FEI Driving and Vaulting European sport in Budapest next year.”

Valérie Moulin, President of the Ustica Organising Committee at Haras du Pin, also expressed her disappointment: “We are very disappointed that the rescheduling of Tokyo 2020 has led to the cancellation of the Championships in Haras du Pin, but unfortunately we were unable to find alternative dates outside August 2021. We had gathered a lot of local partners and we were financially invested. All riders counted on this date; nevertheless, we understand that the situation has changed over the last months with the postponement of the Olympic Games. We have made a proposal to the FEI about potentially hosting the Championships in 2023 and we look forward to hearing about that.”

Discussions around other FEI Championships, including the Europeans in 2023, will be held during next month’s FEI Board videoconference meeting, which is set for 23-25 June.

Media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 42

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 4

FEI President Welcomes Speedy Decision on Rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Dates

The FEI President has welcomed the announcement of the new dates for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which will run from 23 July to 8 August, and for the Paralympic Games from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

“While it was of course demoralising for everyone that the Games had to be postponed from their original dates in 2020, the decision was absolutely right in the current terrible global pandemic, but it is really good to have the new dates agreed so soon,” Ingmar De Vos said.

“The decision was taken in full consultation with all the International Federations, including the FEI, and we all had the opportunity to voice our opinions. Now, once the Covid-19 crisis is over, our athletes across both Games can get their training back on track with confidence, knowing exactly when they and their horses need to be at their peaks.

“We are conscious of the fact that this has been a very complex decision for the IOC to make, with multiple factors to be taken into consideration. The athletes’ health and well-being across both Games not just for equestrian sport has to be the top priority, and we have all the protocols in place to protect our athletes – both human and equine – and help them to optimise their performance in the challenging climate we can expect in Tokyo.

“Of course, there will be an impact on the international Calendar across all sports, and from an FEI perspective this includes four major European Championships, but we are already looking at ways we can minimise that impact. The remit for our discipline-specific task forces that are evaluating the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 Calendar has now been expanded to cover 2021 and now we have confirmed dates for both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. We need to explore possible alternatives for a number of major FEI Events, notably the European Championships in Jumping, Dressage, and Para Dressage in Budapest and the European Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin, France. This process will be started immediately.”

The five-discipline European Championships in Budapest (HUN), which also include Driving and Vaulting, are currently due to run from 23-30 August 2021 and the Eventing Championships in Haras du Pin (FRA) from 11-15 August.

“We need to also look at deadlines for obtaining minimum eligibility requirements and extending the deadline for registration of ownership for Olympic horses and will announce those as soon as possible, but we have had confirmation from both the IOC and IPC that National Olympic and Paralympic Committees which have been allocated Olympic or Paralympic quota places will retain them despite the postponement of the Games to next year.”

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

FEI to Create Task Forces to Deal with Impact of Covid-19

Lausanne (SUI), 25 March 2020 – The FEI is to create a series of discipline-specific task forces to evaluate the impact on the FEI Calendar of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has resulted in multiple Event cancellations and the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games until 2021.

The FEI Board approved the creation of the task forces during its monthly teleconference 24 March. The task forces, each of which will focus on a single discipline, will remain in place until any further decision by the Board.

The FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez, who has overall responsibility for the FEI Calendar, will chair each task force. The FEI Vice Presidents Mark Samuel (CAN) and Jack Huang (TPE) will be members of each task force together with the European Equestrian Federation President Theo Ploegmakers (NED) and the President of the International Equestrian Organisers Association Peter Bollen (BEL). The FEI Calendar Administrator and a representative from both the FEI IT and FEI Legal departments will sit on each of the task forces.

The individual task forces, which will also include the Chair of the relevant Technical Committee, a representative of the Athletes, and the FEI Sports Director of the specific discipline, will review all FEI Calendar related issues caused by the Covid-19 virus and make recommendations to the FEI on ways to address them.

The FEI President will be kept fully updated by each of the task forces, and will attend meetings when necessary in order to assist in finalising proposals for solutions to be put forward to the FEI Board for approval.

Following the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the FEI has already received assurances from the IOC that it will work in tandem with all the International Federations to find the best solutions for all issues that arise, including the dates for rescheduling and the impact that will have on the international calendar for all sports.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56

A Message from the USET Foundation

Gladstone, NJ – As the world navigates through these uncertain times, the USET Foundation continues to focus on its mission and the support of our athletes as they move forward in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Now, more than ever, they need our support and we will continue doing the important work of fundraising to help our U.S. teams achieve their goals and dreams.

Per the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee: “Despite the ever-changing nature of coronavirus, its global impact, and the hypothetical scenarios that have entered the conversation, the USOPC has not been given any information to suggest that the Tokyo 2020 Games will not go ahead as scheduled and as planned. We, like the athletes who are training to compete at their very best in Tokyo, are focused on being prepared to support our Olympic and Paralympic teams in Japan. It remains our great hope that Team USA athletes – having dedicated an incalculable amount of time and effort in hopes of representing the United States in the Olympic and Paralympic Games – will have the opportunity to live out their athletic dreams in Tokyo.”

As our athletes continue to prepare this spring and heading into the summer, their entire support network surrounding them remains engaged. We are resolute in continuing to do our part to support US Equestrian’s high performance sport and hope that you will join the team in “Raising the Bar” for our U.S. athletes.

USET Foundation has taken measures to address the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the team working in Gladstone. Aiming toward our fundraising goals, we remain open and are available by phone and e-mail. We encourage our friends and supporters to stay informed through the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We hope that you will join us in our support of America’s teams, not only in this championship year, but going forward, as we plan for future games and build the pipeline of young athletes moving up in equestrian sport. Our athletes are determined to make their mark on history, and we are committed to supporting them throughout their journeys by providing the necessary resources for their success.

Learn more at www.uset.org.

Contact: Emily Randolph
emily@jumpmediallc.com
www.jumpmediallc.com

Tokyo 2020 Team and Individual Quota Places Confirmed by FEI

Following concerns raised about FEI Jumping Events in France and Syria where Olympic and Longines Ranking points were on offer, the FEI has investigated events at both Villeneuve-Loubet (FRA) and Damascus (SYR).

The investigation into the three events at Villeneuve-Loubet in December 2019 has established that, contrary to the FEI Rules (Article 110.2.3 of the FEI General Regulations), two competitions counting for the Olympic and Longines Rankings were added at each event after the respective Definite Entries deadlines. The updated Schedules for these three events were submitted to the FEI by the French National Federation and were mistakenly approved by the FEI.

As a result, and in accordance with Article 112.3 of the FEI General Regulations, the FEI has retrospectively removed these additional competitions, meaning that athletes who participated will lose their ranking points from these competitions. The Olympic and Longines Rankings have been updated accordingly.

Additionally, the FEI has established that three of the six events at Villeneuve-Loubet in January 2020 also had two classes counting for Longines Rankings points added after the Definite Entries deadline, again contrary to the FEI Rules. As a result, these additional competitions have been removed and athletes that participated will lose their ranking points for these competitions.

The FEI also reviewed the events that took place in Damascus (SYR) between October and December 2019, and while it was clearly established that there was no breach of FEI Rules and Regulations regarding FEI Calendar entries, the event Schedules or the number of events run, the investigation revealed an irregularity with the prize money at three of the events.

The events held in Damascus on 24-27 October 2019, 31 October to 3 November 2019, and 13-17 November 2019 had total prize money that exceeded the limit for a CSI2* and the Schedules for these events were erroneously approved by the FEI. As a result, the FEI has removed one FEI competition at each of these events in order to bring the total prize money within the specified limit, but this has no impact on the Olympic Ranking for Olympic Group F.

The FEI has also reallocated one of the two Jumping team quota slots from the Olympic Jumping Qualifier for Group F in Rabat (MAR) in October 2019, following adverse analytical findings in two members of the Qatari team, Sheikh Ali Al Thani and Bassem Mohammed. Both athletes tested positive for Carboxy-THC, a metabolite of Cannabis, which is a prohibited substance under the FEI’s Anti-Doping Rules for Human Athletes (ADRHA).

The FEI Tribunal issued a partial decision regarding the disqualification of the individual results of the two Qatari athletes on 15 February 2020. As a result, Qatar loses its team quota place for Tokyo and this has been reallocated by the FEI to Morocco.

The FEI has now confirmed the team and individual quota places across the three disciplines of Dressage, Eventing, and Jumping for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, with three nations – Luxembourg (Dressage individual), Pakistan (Eventing individual), and Israel (Jumping team) – qualifying for the Olympic Games for the first time. The new formats have opened the door for more nations to compete at the Games, with Jumping going up from 27 in Rio to 35 in Tokyo, Dressage increasing from 25 to 30, and Eventing rising from 24 to 30. In total, the number of flags has risen from 43 in Rio to 48 in Tokyo.

Latvia’s individual quota slot for Jumping would mean a first Games start after a 32-year absence, having last competed in Seoul 1988. The Czech Republic and Hong Kong, which have both qualified for an individual place in Eventing, are planning to return to the Games for the first time since Beijing 2008.

The deadline to achieve the Minimum Eligibility Requirements (MERs) is 1 June, after which the FEI will confirm approval of the FEI Certificates of Capability to the National Federations. The final athlete/horse combinations for the three disciplines will be announced on 6 July 2020.

The Olympic equestrian events get underway the day after the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo on 24 July. Dressage will be the first discipline to hold its competitions (July 25-29), followed by Eventing (31 July to 3 August) and then Jumping (4-8 August). The competitions will take place at the Bajikoen Equestrian Park and the Sea Forest Cross Country venue.

FEI contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+ 41 78 750 61 73

New Dressage Grand Prix Special at Royal Windsor Horse Show ahead of Tokyo 2020

Organisers of Royal Windsor Horse Show have announced that this year’s dressage competition will run a Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special format ahead of the Olympic Games this summer. The prestigious event will be the first 4* show in the UK to run the new combined format and will provide Team GBR hopefuls and international riders with a rare opportunity to perform the test in front of Olympic selectors and a large audience ahead of Tokyo 2020.

The CDI4* FEI Al Shira’aa Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special will take place on Thursday 14 May and Friday 15 May at Royal Windsor Horse Show, respectively, and organisers expect it to attract top dressage partnerships looking to gain valuable experience in the new format ahead of the Games.

Following the Tokyo 2020 format, each athlete competing in the Grand Prix Special will be required to provide a music soundtrack to accompany their test, although the music will not be marked. Show organisers are supporting the athletes by offering the services of renowned dressage music technician, Markus Hinzke, who will help athletes in the selection of their accompanying music. Organisers believe that this offer will encourage more competitors to compete at Windsor, using it as a trial for Tokyo 2020.

The Grand Prix Special will form the medal competition for the Team Championship at the Olympic Games. Royal Windsor Horse Show will provide a special opportunity in the UK for an audience to see the Grand Prix Special test to music, and for riders to trial it in a competitive environment. Therefore, it has an important role as a stepping-stone towards Tokyo for both riders and selectors.

British Dressage star Richard Davison said: “To be able to perform the Grand Prix Special set to music this spring at Royal Windsor is really a great opportunity for all riders hoping to compete in Tokyo, especially as Team GB selectors will be attending the Show. The new format is a major change to the competition but is also an incredibly exciting development for dressage as a sport.”

Simon Brooks-Ward, Show Director, said: “We are really pleased to be hosting the new Olympic Team Medal Format (Grand Prix Special) at Royal Windsor Horse Show. With the 2020 Olympic Games coming up this summer, this is a huge year for equestrian sport and Team GBR Dressage. We hope that by hosting the new format, we will provide our athletes with an opportunity to impress team selectors. This will also be a hugely unique chance for ticket holders to see top Team GB combinations compete on home soil before they head to Tokyo.”

The Show will also be supporting Team GBR by encouraging athletes and visitors to donate to the BEF Olympic fund at point of ticket purchase and entry.

The prestigious annual Show, now in its 77th year, takes place in the private grounds of Windsor Castle for a five-day celebration of top-level international equestrian sport. Royal Windsor remains the only UK event to host first-class international competitions in four of the FEI disciplines: Show Jumping, Dressage, Carriage Driving, and Endurance, attracting some of the biggest names in equestrian sport, including Olympic, World, and European champions.

In addition to the elite sporting action, ticket holders will enjoy performances from the The Musical Ride of the Household Cavalry, The Household Cavalry Mounted Band, and The Musical Drive of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, as well as fan-favourites, The Land Rover Shetland Pony Grand National and DAKS Pony Club Mounted Games.

Tickets to Royal Windsor Horse Show can be booked online at www.rwhs.co.uk or by calling the box office on 0844 581 0755 from the UK and +44 (0)121 796 6100 internationally.

For more information, please contact:
Gayle Jenkins / rEvolution / gjenkins@revolutionworld.com / +44 (0)203 176 0355

FEI Publishes Tokyo Horse Monitoring Research Project Findings

Michael Jung (GER) with Fischerwild Wave. (FEI/Yusuke Nakanishi)

The results of a major research study commissioned by the FEI, aimed at identifying best practices and management of horses training and competing in hot and humid environments, have been published.

Conducted at the Ready Steady Tokyo Test Event in August 2019, and led by the FEI’s climate expert Dr David Marlin, the study monitored the combined effects of long travelling times and distances, time zone disruptions, and heat and humidity on competing horses.

Horses were monitored before and during the test event, including how they adapted to the challenging climate in Tokyo. Central to the report is data collected on-course and post-competition, which allowed for detailed analysis of the cross-country test.

The study findings show that horses generally coped extremely well with the conditions and remained in good health for the duration of the test event, held at the same time of year as the Games in 2020, despite the fact that conditions were thermally challenging, with Wet Bulb Globe Thermometer* (WBGT) Index readings frequently in the region of 32-33°C.

The report confirms that on cross country day (13 August), the high WBGT Index, steep initial climb, and sharp turns on the course produced a significant challenge for competing horses. Heart rates during cross country, and blood lactate, heart rate, and rectal temperature after cross country indicated that horses were working at close to maximal capacity.

A new heart rate monitor that also displays the ECG plus infra-red thermal imaging to provide a rapid and accurate estimate of horses’ temperature were key pieces of technology used in data collection for the study.

The report highlights that “all possibilities must be explored to mitigate the effects of the likely climatic conditions, including reduction in distance appropriate for the conditions and bringing the cross country start time forward to avoid the highest WBGT conditions that would normally peak between late morning and mid-afternoon.”

Following discussions between the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (TOCOG), the IOC, and the FEI, consensus has been reached on advancing the cross country start time to either 07.30 or 08.00 on 2 August 2020 as part of the heat countermeasures. A final decision on the move, which is fully supported by the findings in the Marlin report, will be made by the IOC Executive Board.

“We have worked very closely with TOCOG to put in place the best possible heat countermeasures for both our equine and human athletes for Tokyo 2020, and the findings in this important research study will play a crucial role in guiding final decisions on appropriate facilities and support,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Akerström said. “The report will also be a valuable tool for athletes and National Federations as they prepare their horses in the build-up to and during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Heat countermeasures that are already in place for horses include air conditioned stables at both equestrian venues (Bajikoen and Sea Forest), early morning and evening training and competition sessions under floodlights, constant and close monitoring by a world class veterinary team, and multiple cooling facilities including the provision of shade tents, cooling fans, ice and water, and mobile cooling units.

The FEI has been working on optimising equine performance in challenging climates with Dr Marlin since before the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. Dr Marlin has been working with the FEI for the past three years specifically on Tokyo, reviewing historical climate records, analysing data collected at the main venue at Bajikoen (EQP) and at the cross-country course at Sea Forest (SFC), and leading the test event research project.

The findings from the research project have been sent to TOCOG, the IOC, all National Olympic and Paralympic Committees with athletes competing in equestrian sport, and all National Federations affiliated to the FEI.

The full report is available here.

*The Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) index is used to measure heat, humidity, solar radiation, and wind factor.

FEI media contacts:

Grania Willis
Director Communications
grania.willis@fei.org
+41 787 506 142

Olga Nikolaou
Media Relations Officer
olga.nikolaou@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 56