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View Full Version : Were professionals always allowed in equestrian events?



Tanyanoel
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:18 PM
I may be showing my age a bit, but I remember when they started allowing professionals in most sports in the olympics in 1986 but it seems that equestrian athletes were always allowed to compete as professionals.

Does anyone know when professional equestrians were allowed to compete as opposed to amateurs only if ever?

Ajierene
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:35 PM
It kind of depends on what you mean by 'professional'. Until the 1952 games, only military members were allowed to compete in Eventing. Since they did get paid to ride and train with horses, as well as other military duties (the percentage of riding time, I do not know), one could consider them a professional.

With horses, there has always been a fuzzy line between pro and ammy and some people end up being able to claim amateur status because they 'fix' the books to make it seem as though they are amateurs when they are not. I'm not accusing any current or form riders - just sayin in general it is possible.

Basically the line is not as clear as the one between a college hockey student and a member of the NHL.

grayarabpony
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:38 PM
I don't know when the rules were changed but Rodney Jenkins was not allowed to compete in the Olympics because he was a professional.

zannebar
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:40 PM
Last night I was reading the part in The Show Gypsies when Dave freaks out at Diane for breaking her ammie status and blowing her shot at the Olympic team, and I was trying to remember when the no-pro rule changed. I'm sure I could Google an answer, but I'm counting on someone piping in here. :-)

Wasn't there a change across all sports? I'm thinking of the basketball "Dream Team" a few years back that was composed almost entirely of NBA MVPs...?

Janet
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:43 PM
There were VERY strict amateur regulation for riding in the Olympics through the late 60s.

When my sister, then in high shcool, was offered the opprortunity to ride 2 yo race horses at the TB barn across the street, the barn owner (Mrs. Waller, whose father, Mr Kirby, had been involved in founding the modern Olympics) made sure that she understood that by taking this job (as a junior) she was FOREVER giving up eligibility for the Olympics.

In those days, strict amateur rules also applied to the Nations Cups. The first US pros who were permitted to ride in the Nations Cup (at Washington, MSG, and the Royal in Canada) were Rodney Jenkins and Harry DeLeyer.

After that, the amateur restrictions for the Olympics were transferred to the governing body for each sport(rather than the IOC).

Tanyanoel
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:44 PM
Thanks to the Rodney Jenkins reference I found it! Below is the link to an article in 1987 about him saying how excited he was that he would be able to compete in an olympics or pan am games due to a new rule.


http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B0DE1DF1731F931A35752C1A9619482 60

Wellspotted
Aug. 13, 2008, 03:50 PM
I'm glad you found it!

I do remember a time when the rules were changed and pros were allowed to compete, but I don't remember when exactly. The 80s sounds about right, though.

Remembering when the rules were different is the main reason I'm glad that baseball is being discontinued.

fernie fox
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:07 PM
Oh my gosh,I remember the hoo ha this caused in UK.

Many of us who made a living from horses were told in no uncertain terms,that We would never be allowed to compete in the Olympics.

Then when we watched the games,there were people riding who were in business with us,bought and sold horses from us.:(

They were representing their countries,but we could'nt,or werent allowed to represent our country.:(

It caused a lot of hard feelings.:sadsmile:

zannebar
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:31 PM
There were VERY strict amateur regulation for riding in the Olympics through the late 60s.

When my sister, then in high shcool, was offered the opprortunity to ride 2 yo race horses at the TB barn across the street, the barn owner (Mrs. Waller, whose father, Mr Kirby, had been involved in founding the modern Olympics) made sure that she understood that by taking this job (as a junior) she was FOREVER giving up eligibility for the Olympics.

In those days, strict amateur rules also applied to the Nations Cups. The first US pros who were permitted to ride in the Nations Cup (at Washington, MSG, and the Royal in Canada) were Rodney Jenkins and Harry DeLeyer.

After that, the amateur restrictions for the Olympics were transferred to the governing body for each sport(rather than the IOC).

Ah, I suspected Janet would come through for us -- thanks! :)

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:33 PM
I don't think it was as cut and dry as some are saying, esp for the eventers and dressage riders.
With showjumping, it was easier, if you rode for prize money, you obviously couldn't go, so the likes of Rodney Jenkins, Harvey Smith, Eddie Macken, all the top pros in the world in the 70's.
There was no prize money in eventing and dressage, but some of those riders you had to wonder if they were making a living in the horseworld, or at least a partial living.
What was the Shockemole brothers official occupation when they competed in the '76 Olympics? How about the likes of Bruce Davidson, did he have a day job prior to the '88 Olympic games? I've often wondered what the exact definition was back then.

BAC
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:44 PM
While there were strict rules about professionals not competing in the Olympics, not all countries adhered to them and gave money under the table to people who were in fact true professionals. Bill Steinkraus held down a full time job as a book editor while riding with the USET, Reiner Klimke was a practicing attorney. In fact RK switched from eventing to dressage in part because he said he didn't have the necessary time to commit to eventing.

I don't think prize money had anything to do with it, that is money the horse won. People who earned their livlihood in the horse business by boarding, teaching, showing other people's horses, etc. they were considered professionals.

Mary and Frank Chapot had their own barn of horses while riding for the USET but I don't think they trained anyone else, etc. in order to maintain their amateur status (at least they didn't openly do that).

Ajierene
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:50 PM
I could be wrong, but I thought the amateur status was initially officially broken in one of the 70's games with Russia sending professional hockey or basketball players to the games. That's when the rest of the world started talking about adding pros in - I could be wrong though. I'm attempting to find out now.

Eclectic Horseman
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:52 PM
I could be wrong, but I thought the amateur status was initially officially broken in one of the 70's games with Russia sending professional hockey or basketball players to the games. That's when the rest of the world started talking about adding pros in - I could be wrong though. I'm attempting to find out now.

Well, the problem was that in the communist countries like the USSR, the state supported the athletes and they did not have to have real jobs. So the distinction between who was a pro and who wasn't didn't make any sense in comparing communist and capitalist countries.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:54 PM
So lets take an example, say the '84 Olympics, the last amatuer games.
Here are the team medal winners. Does anyone know what these people's official occupations were in 1984? Most were well known pros afterwards.


Joseph Fargis
Conrad Homfeld
Leslie Howard
Melanie Smith
Michael Whitaker
John Whitaker
Steven Smith
Timothy Grubb
Paul Schockemöhle
Peter Luther
Franke Sloothaak
Fritz Ligges

BAC
Aug. 13, 2008, 04:57 PM
I don't know when the rules were changed but Rodney Jenkins was not allowed to compete in the Olympics because he was a professional.

But he did compete in the Olympics once, after the rules were changed.

Eclectic Horseman
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:01 PM
According to Wikipedia, quoted below, each sport was allowed to make its own rule after 1970. So the FEI must have changed the rule for equestrian sports?


"Initially, only amateurs were considered such; professional athletes were not allowed to compete in the Olympic Games. A short-lived exception was made for professional fencing instructors. This exclusion of professionals has caused several controversies throughout the history of the modern Olympics. 1912 Olympic pentathlon and decathlon champion, Jim Thorpe, was disqualified when it was discovered that he played semi-professional baseball prior to winning his medals. He was restored as champion on compassionate grounds by the IOC in 1983. Swiss and Austrian skiers boycotted the 1936 Winter Olympics in support of their skiing teachers, who were not allowed to compete because they earned money with their sport and were considered professionals.

It gradually became clear to many that the amateurism rules had become outdated, not least because the self-financed amateurs of Western countries often were no match for the state-sponsored "full-time amateurs" of Eastern bloc countries. Nevertheless, the IOC, led by President Avery Brundage, held to the traditional rules regarding amateurism. In the 1970s, after Brundage left, amateurism requirements were dropped from the Olympic Charter, leaving decisions on professional participation to the international federation for each sport. This switch was perhaps best exemplified by the American Dream Team, composed of well-paid NBA stars, which won the Olympic gold medal in basketball in 1992. As of 2004, the only sports in which no professionals compete is boxing and baseball (though even this requires a definition of amateurism based on fight rules rather than on payment, as some boxers receive cash prizes from their National Olympic Committees); in men's football (soccer), the number of players over 23 years of age is limited to three per team."

BAC
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:07 PM
So lets take an example, say the '84 Olympics, the last amatuer games.
Here are the team medal winners. Does anyone know what these people's official occupations were in 1984? Most were well known pros afterwards.


Joseph Fargis
Conrad Homfeld
Leslie Howard
Melanie Smith
Michael Whitaker
John Whitaker
Steven Smith
Timothy Grubb
Paul Schockemöhle
Peter Luther
Franke Sloothaak
Fritz Ligges

Are you sure it was 1984? I thought it was earlier. At any rate, many amateurs (Fargis, Homfeld) had their own barns but technically they weren't getting paid by anyone and weren't earning a living doing it. Whether they were being honest or not, you be the judge. Some were but many probably were not but I have no idea which ones. And I believe you could sell horses without being considered a professional, as long as you weren't a dealer. But if Frank Chapot just happened to have a few too many horses on his property and sold a few that was OK.

And if you are old enough to remember the iron curtain countries, all of their athletes were professionals in the sense that their government provided them with homes, cars, money, and other perks and they trained full time, whether they were ice skaters or equestrians. Of course they were under extreme pressure to come home with medals too. In the Soviet Union Olympic titles could earn you your own apartment, fresh fruit and vegetables or a steak, luxuries the common folk didn't have access to. Many young married couples had to live with their parents once they married, you couldn't just go out and rent an apartment the way you would in a capitalist society. The world has changed drastically over the last several decades.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:09 PM
According to Wikipedia, quoted below, each sport was allowed to make its own rule after 1970. So the FEI must have changed the rule for equestrian sports?


I distinctly remember that during the 70's the likes of Eddie Macken and Paul Darragh were not allowed to compete on the Irish jumping teams at the OG, and I'm pretty sure in '84 also. So the rule change had to have been after that.

Actually I just found this interesting tidbit on a wikipedia piece on Eddie Macken....

The Olympics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympics) frame his other great regret. When he and Boomerang were at the peak of their powers Macken was barred from competing at the Games because he was a professional and had sponsorship. Other countries, Macken noted, didn’t apply the rules so stringently. In Germany in 1976 he watched Alwin Schockemöhle return from Montreal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montreal) with the individual gold medal Macken felt might have been his.

BAC
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:10 PM
Eclectic Horseman, I wish I had seen your post before I spent so much time writing mine. :D At least you confirmed for me that it was in the 70's and not 1984.

Janet
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:17 PM
I also thought the roster for '76 was starting to look less "pure amateur".

BAC
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:26 PM
I also thought the roster for '76 was starting to look less "pure amateur".

Do you remember what Olympics Rodney Jenkins rode in? I think he rode in the first one after the rule change IIRC.

Drvmb1ggl3
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:32 PM
Do you remember what Olympics Rodney Jenkins rode in? I think he rode in the first one after the rule change IIRC.

Someone referenced an article earlier in the thread, from 1987, where RJ is quoted as being excited about finally being able to ride in the next OG. That would imply that '88 was the first.
Which would mean that '84 was still amatuer, and looking at the list of US, British and German riders that competed in that games you have to ponder what the exact definition of an amatuer was.

BAC
Aug. 13, 2008, 05:34 PM
Someone referenced an article earlier in the thread, from 1987, where RJ is quoted as being excited about finally being able to ride in the next OG. That would imply that '88 was the first.

Wow, I had no idea it was only 20 years ago, I was sure it was earlier. Thanks.

Reds-n-Greys
Aug. 14, 2008, 12:49 AM
So, if Rodney Jenkins competed in 1988, was he an individual? The silver medal team is listed as Joe Fargis, Greg Best, Lisa Jacquin and Anne Kursinski and Greg Best got the silver for individual. Who did RJ ride?

I'm also surprised that in the write up for his induction into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame, it doesn't mention that he represented the US in the Olympics, although it does mention the Pam Am Games. link below...

http://www.showjumpinghalloffame.net/news/sjhf6.shtml

Not meaing to start anything, just wondering

Wellspotted
Aug. 14, 2008, 01:53 AM
I don't think he ever rode in the Olympics.

See biography here:

http://www.virginiasportsman.com/Rodney.pdf

This site apparently lists every athlete in every modern Olympiad--Rodney Jenkins is not listed:

http://www.databaseolympics.com/players/playerlist.htm?lt=j

lauriep
Aug. 14, 2008, 08:49 AM
Rodney never rode in the Olympics. And at least from '76 on, pros were riding on the teams, just not being very upfront about it, but everyone in the industry knew. I am not sure when the rule changed (1984?) but in 1980, Conrad, Norman, Terry and Katie were chosen for the team that did not get to go, and all were professionals, making their living training and teaching. 1984, Conrad, Joe, and Leslie had their own businesses. Melanie worked for a private farm, didn't teach or have outside customers. I think it was glossed over in this country because of what the competition across the pond was able to do with their state funding. If we had TRULY only sent amateurs, we would not have been competitive, period. And the Europeans were no more innocent of ducking the rule than we were. The Schockemohles have been horse dealers for as long as I can remember, although Alwin also had a "day" job...

BAC
Aug. 14, 2008, 12:02 PM
Rodney never rode in the Olympics.

Maybe I was thinking of the Pan Am games? My memory is not what it used to be.

Janet
Aug. 14, 2008, 12:12 PM
As I said on the earlier post, a BIG DEAL was made when Rodney (and Harry deLeyer) got to ride on the Nations Cup team at "indoors". I remember that more than the PanAms.

vineyridge
Aug. 14, 2008, 01:15 PM
I'm showing my age also, because I actually remember Avery Brundage's rule over the Olympics. He was adamant that no athlete who took money for performing his sport could play. But Brundage retired as IOC president in 1972. And amateur enforcement immediately started to slip.

As I recall, and I'm sure someone can correct me if I'm wrong, prize money in the ring was credited to the horse, not the rider. So it was possible for an amateur to own his/her horse, win prize money, and still be an amateur. With the USET as strong as it was then, with Team horses, with working student programs, and with many trust fund babies, husbands and wives, who got family support, it was only those riders who took money for training (horse or riders) or as pay for riding who got caught in the amateur system.

After the amateur system went away, the USET went down the tubes. JMHO

Arizona DQ
Aug. 14, 2008, 04:34 PM
As I said on the earlier post, a BIG DEAL was made when Rodney (and Harry deLeyer) got to ride on the Nations Cup team at "indoors". I remember that more than the PanAms.

Oh my! I remember Harry so well. I took lessons from him and was always afraid of incurring his wrath! (Which I did more than once!).. Maybe that is why I only ride dressage now? :D

I am surprised he (and Snowman) are not listed in the Show Jumping Hall of Fame:(

Showing my age, I suppose......:winkgrin:

lauriep
Aug. 14, 2008, 08:16 PM
Snowman was inducted in 1992.

Ajierene
Aug. 14, 2008, 08:54 PM
OK, finally found what I was referencing. I had to go on Internet Movie Database and look up the movie Miracle to figure out what I was talking about...

Miracle, by the way, is a great movie about a whole bunch of egos and making an unbeatable team out of them. When I saw the 'Dream Team', I wondered if the coaches watched the movie and followed Herb Brooks' example. Apparently they didn't and this is why (at least I believe) the US team lost so horribly.

Anyway...In Wikipedia, it states that while the Russian Hockey team (undefeated for the last 4 Olympics) was technically amateurs...they really weren't:

"Though classed as amateur, Soviet players essentially played professionally (the players were active-duty in the Red Army) in a well-developed league with excellent training facilities."

This was the most likely reason for the change - those behind the 'iron curtain' were being classed as amateurs, but were not really amateur players. With the support of the government, they also had a leg up on the competition that did not have any support from their government.

fernie fox
Aug. 14, 2008, 09:00 PM
It was in the late 60s that I and many British riders were "forced" to admit we were pro's.

Thus many of them did not do the Olympics,for some it was heartbreaking.

Very frustrating to watch other countries flouting the rules.

Looking at the lists of riders posted here on this thread,yes we were buying and selling wheeling and dealing with many of them.

Also trained a few of these riders.

Arizona DQ
Aug. 14, 2008, 09:38 PM
Snowman was inducted in 1992.

WOW! Thank you! I missed that. What a grand old man, he was a real sweetheart! We had a summer house down the road from Hollandia Farm. Great trip down memory lane and sorry for the off topic....:)

danceronice
Aug. 14, 2008, 11:42 PM
For skating, they actually have stopped using the word "amateur" and have replaced it with "eligible." It now has to do with what you enter. They had to do this not only or even primarily because of the Soviet state system, but because athletes were staying in just long enough to go to the Olympics and then bolting for the pro ranks where they could start making money. The ISU finally ruled that you could make money under certain situations (including endorsements) to keep people on their side longer.

Ballroom dance is actually going through the pro vs am growing pains right now, with the added fun that there are TWO amateur divisions--Amateur, governed by USADance (the USOC member), who CAN make money teaching, and Pro/Am student Amateurs, governed by the NDCA rules (who cannot make ANY money in any way related to teaching or performing dance.)

I have always been confused by what is pro and what is amateur in horses, but this is probably becuase the first Olys I remember much about were the '88 games. So there's never been a real separation for me.

SoEasy
Aug. 14, 2008, 11:56 PM
I worked for BD in 1984. His entry form for the Games listed him as a farmer, saying he raised beef cattle - I think there were 3 steers turned out in one of the fields at Chesterland at the time. I'm fairly certain that was not the source of his livelihood that year! :rolleyes::lol:

vineyridge
Aug. 15, 2008, 12:47 AM
Dang. I thought I saw somewhere that BD's real world job back then was "managing his family's investments." Oh, wait; do you reckon they invested in eventing? :winkgrin: