Equestrian sport arrives in Rio with its head held high, the bit between its teeth and on the crest of a wave of expansion across the globe.
21 July 2016, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ~ The Rio 2016 Summer Games sport entries (FEI Definite Entries) are set, and a total of 200 athlete and horse combinations from 43 countries will chase their dreams of glory in three separate disciplines; soaring over massive obstacles in Jumping, displaying athleticism and grace in Dressage, and powering around a cross-country track in Eventing. What sets the equestrian sport apart from the other Rio sports is that it is done in partnership – a human and a horse.
The #TwoHearts campaign in the lead-up to Rio 2016 has helped explain this extraordinary coming together of human and animal as a single athletic unit. This is a sport with a rapidly growing fan-base and some of the most captivating stories in town!
The skill and excitement of nurturing the natural instincts and courage of this noble creature and competing in harmony continues to hold huge appeal. The number of people engaging in equestrianism around the globe continues to grow dramatically.
“Since 2007 there has been an 83 percent increase in the number of international competitions, and young people are being drawn to equestrian sport in greater numbers than ever before,” said Sabrina Ibáñez, Secretary General of the international governing body, the Federation Equestre International (FEI). “Our sport really appeals to the youth culture. The Brazilian Dressage team is a good example, with all four members below the age of 25, and one of them holding the distinction of being the youngest equestrian athlete at these Games.”
Family connections abound. There are husbands and wives, life-partners and cousins listed amongst the 75 Jumping, 65 Eventing and 60 Dressage horse and rider combinations (FEI definite entries). Brothers Michael (56) and John Whitaker (60), who between them have competed at nine Olympic Games, are in the British Jumping squad, while at the other end of both the age and experience spectrum, the young Brazilian Dressage team includes brother and sister Luiza (24) and Pedro (22) Tavares Almeida, with Pedro’s twin Manuel (22) as the team reserve.
“We have a really wide age-range in our fan-base due to the nature of our sport and we expect a huge following during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games!” said Ibáñez.
Report by By Louise Parkes
In the Details:
- Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912.
- Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines – Dressage, Eventing and Jumping.
- Team USA holds the record for the greatest level of participation with 236 horse and rider combinations competing throughout the history of the Games.
- Team Germany has won the most medals, collecting a total of 75 to date.
- The equestrian events of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be staged in the Deodoro Olympic Park alongside basketball, BMX, canoe slalom, fencing, hockey, modern pentathlon, mountain biking, rugby sevens and shooting.
The Rio 2016 sport entries (FEI Definite Entries) also include 34 reserve horses and 33 reserve riders. The Jumping rider Ferenc Szentirmai (UKR) is a competing athlete and also has a reserve horse.
The RIO Summer Games 2016 will run from 5-21 August 2016