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Equestrian sport is safe for the coming (few) Olympics

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  • Equestrian sport is safe for the coming (few) Olympics

    In a recent interview with Jacques Rogge (head of the IOC) he made the statement that for the upcoming (few) Olympics only two sports will be removed baseball and softball. One new sport is already selected to fill in these gaps, Golf, so we will see Tiger Woods at the Olympics (?).

  • #2
    Being somewhat in the know I can say that we have not heard officially if golf will be in the next olympics or not. There are a lot of details to work out between the IOC and golf-powers-that-be. Team format, match play, stroke play, how to select players, scheduling conflicts etc etc.

    Tiger would most likely play to win his gold once and that would be enough of that. They already have the Ryder and Presidents Cup where they don't get any money for playing in it. For a majority of the players there is no huge draw for them to run off and play in the Olympics. And the IOC said they would only add it if the best players play. (ie sorry no ammys, who would actually love to play)

    So all in all - don't know quite yet.
    Last edited by EMWalker; Aug. 25, 2008, 12:10 AM.
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    • #3
      Sounds like the usual .. getting further and further away from the Olympic ideals. Big business, only pros, etc.
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      • #4
        Good grief--of all the sports not suited to the Olympics & unnecessary to it--golf has to be number 1. On the other hand, equestrian sports are rooted in the military tradition...historically the base of Olympic sport.
        Not to hijack here, but I agree with dumping baseball & softball. Other "sports" that don't belong in the Olympics (IMHO) include rhythmic gymnastics (please!), BMX racing (c'mon--they already have the extreme games), tennis (like golf, tennis has umpteen high $$ tourneys & a worldwide high $$ profile--why do they need the Olympics?). And while I'm griping--why is there pairs diving?? I think too many sports waters down the import of the Olympics.
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        • #5
          Baseball/softball has a HUGE following worldwide. Equestrian probably has one of the fewest. Other sports appeal to different people and just because some people do not enjoy certain sports, does not mean that millions of others do not enjoy them either.
          But golf - golfers didn't even go to the gym until Tiger set the standard. I love rythmic gymnastics, pairs diving for a start.
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          • #6
            I wouldn't mind so much some of those sports if they were actually more of an amateur. BMX does not need to be in the Olympics.

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            • #7
              BMX should be in a different olympics, along with skateboarding and street acrobatics. Cool to watch. Not olympic material. Too trendy. Does anyone remember when there was discussion of roller skating (or was it roller dancing?) to be an Olympic sport? How dorky would that look today?
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              Beach volley should also be in a different olympics, along with parasailing and jetskiing. There's already a sport called volley ball - on a court.

              They're all fun to watch, but it just doesn't seem right for them to be in the Olympics.

              I know everyone dis-es rhythmic gymnastics. It is corney, but there's something about them that seems like they're a really old sport. I mean I can imagine stuff like that going on in ancient Greece or by the Minoans. And I like that tie to the past - even if it's only in my brain.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Foxtrot's View Post
                Baseball/softball has a HUGE following worldwide.
                Yes, I am really quite surprised they are canning baseball/softball. Have not heard the rationale. But so many people play it, not just in N.America. It is cheap to stage, easy to understand, of all the sports on the chopping block I can't imagine why they would can it.

                WRT to keeping us in the Olympics, I think FEI has been well served by having aristocracy at the helm for so long. IOC is lousy with aristocratic types, I honestly think that is the only thing keeping us in.

                Hong Kong facilities cost 1.2 billion. Not pocket change, for sure.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Mozart View Post

                  Hong Kong facilities cost 1.2 billion. Not pocket change, for sure.
                  Will those facilities be used for anything after the Games?

                  I would think that would be another drawback to adding golf, if they have to build a new course every four years in a different city. Although maybe they could recoup their investment each time by charging regular golfers to play on it afterwards. "I played on the Olympic course!"

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                  • #10
                    yeah, so if they have a huge following, as with tennis and basketball, they have their "BIG DAY" at other places and other competitions.... for most the olympics is as good as it gets for equestrian sports
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Mozart View Post
                      Yes, I am really quite surprised they are canning baseball/softball. Have not heard the rationale. But so many people play it, not just in N.America. It is cheap to stage, easy to understand, of all the sports on the chopping block I can't imagine why they would can it.
                      Not sure why the are dropping baseball. Supposedly they are dropping softball because the US has been so dominate winning all the golds to this point (that was the reasoning used during the broadcasts) then we go and choke and Japan gets gold. If you follow that reasoning, then I guess we should drop diving (Chinese dominate), dressage (germany and netherlands), and several other sports.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FEIwannabe View Post
                        I know everyone dis-es rhythmic gymnastics. It is corney, but there's something about them that seems like they're a really old sport. I mean I can imagine stuff like that going on in ancient Greece or by the Minoans. And I like that tie to the past - even if it's only in my brain.
                        I agree I love rhythmic gymnastics, LOL. I watched the team final yesterday and all I could keep thinking about was how many times those girls must get smacked in the face with their various items (balls, hoops, jump ropes, clubs, etc.) while learning just how much and where to throw those suckers in the air and to and at each other.

                        Imagine a whole sport wherein the practice involves getting hit with things! And we think riding is tough because we fall off!

                        Anyway, back to this discussion, I'm going to throw in my little pitch here to the dressage powers that be here for a sec. You want your sport to be more popular and appreciated? Get rid of this nonsense that judges must have seen the combination and have "confidence" in the scores they give. Allow for a "kid outta nowhere story". Tribesman in the darkest reaches of the Amazon knew the top two were going to be Anky and Isabell, virtually regardless of how they performed.

                        Meanwhile over at the diving pool (with their primetime coverage and 15 swoopy camera angles and commentators who described with every dive why something was good and something was not) a guy from Australia dove like had never dived before and stopped the Chinese juggernaut in its tracks. He was better on that day, and the judges rewarded him.

                        And that my friends, is why diving--a sport that is every bit as esoteric, complex, artistic, and subjectively judged as dressage--gets to "go to the show" and dressage doesn't. Because it doesn't feel like the finish is a foregone conclusion, because someone can jump up on that day and get on the podium.
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                        • #13
                          If it were just dominance, table tennis would have to go.

                          Actually I'd like to see them add roller skating, as they still have to do compulsory figures (unlike "figure" skating, which dropped them in 1990.)

                          Heh, I could make a reasonable argument that if military background is relevant, ballroom dancing should already be in. It was only this year that Annapolis dropped formal dance training as a requirement (there is still an optional club.) Used to be part of an officer's training--how to behave at a ball!
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                          • #14
                            Why would you drop baseball? It's big in Japan, big in many nations, its a nice team sport that any less than affluent country should field a team for.

                            Honestly- equestrian except perhaps showjumping should be dropped. Dressage is well- honestly, boring, dominated by two people and it does not broadcast well. And horse people that participate in the sport can barely comprehend the judging. At least in skating we can easily tell a good performance. Eventing has too few nations that can safely field teams at the top level. Plus it is horribly expensive to put on.

                            Having Golf is ridiculous as well. I think that golf is less relevant to young people than mountain biking/BMX. Tiger Woods probably temporarily stopped its decline. But memberships are down and a lot of courses are short on members and one step short of becoming XC courses. Plus again- it requires a lot of land and money to make a course.

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                            • #15
                              Golf???

                              On the other hand, this could get fun. Given the propensity of Olympic sites to put the cross-country course on a golf course (a great use of a golf course, if you ask me), I can imagine some interesting situations arising, even if they don't have competitors of each out on the course at the same time.

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                              • #16
                                Originally posted by wannabegifted View Post
                                yeah, so if they have a huge following, as with tennis and basketball, they have their "BIG DAY" at other places and other competitions.... for most the olympics is as good as it gets for equestrian sports
                                I would disagree. I would say that the WEG (where there is no need to "soften the course" because the qualifying criteria are stricter) is the "BID DAY" for teh Equestrian disciplines. The Olympics are definitely a step down from the WEG.
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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by magnolia73 View Post
                                  Why would you drop baseball? It's big in Japan, big in many nations, its a nice team sport that any less than affluent country should field a team for.

                                  Honestly- equestrian except perhaps showjumping should be dropped. Dressage is well- honestly, boring, dominated by two people and it does not broadcast well. And horse people that participate in the sport can barely comprehend the judging. At least in skating we can easily tell a good performance. Eventing has too few nations that can safely field teams at the top level. Plus it is horribly expensive to put on.

                                  Having Golf is ridiculous as well. I think that golf is less relevant to young people than mountain biking/BMX. Tiger Woods probably temporarily stopped its decline. But memberships are down and a lot of courses are short on members and one step short of becoming XC courses. Plus again- it requires a lot of land and money to make a course.
                                  Wow 2 years a member of an Equestrian forum, over 1400 posts, and telling the world that it all is very boring.

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                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by OkLurchers View Post
                                    On the other hand, equestrian sports are rooted in the military tradition...historically the base of Olympic sport.
                                    Not to hijack here, but I agree with dumping baseball & softball.
                                    I saw a comment on a message board from someone bemoaning the fact that baseball and softball were going to be dropped. The comment was how can dressage be allowed and baseball be out because baseball has been around since the 1800s. Um, reality check here - how long have people been riding horses? Got a laugh out of that one.

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                                    • #19
                                      From the perspective of outsiders, dressage IS boring - the freestyle can be exciting, but watching the GP Special over and over again? I thought one reason they axed the compulsory routines in gymnastics is because people who weren't intimately familiar with the sport found it boring - the same routine over and over again. Same thing with compulsory figures in figure skating. For the average viewer (you know, the ones that make up the bulk of the Olympic audience?), it's yawn worthy.

                                      Judging is mystifying for outsiders who can't tell a good piaffe from a mediocre one. Actually, with the new code, gymnastics seems to be moving towards that same problem - most people can spot huge errors ('She fell off the uneven bars!'), but the nitty gritty of form and how routines are composed is lost on the average viewer, and with the new code, even big errors can receive medal worthy scores.

                                      The comment was how can dressage be allowed and baseball be out because baseball has been around since the 1800s. Um, reality check here - how long have people been riding horses? Got a laugh out of that one.
                                      How long have people been whacking balls with sticks? A very, very long time, is the answer. Competitive dressage as such is a reasonably new sport, as is baseball, but people were playing games akin to baseball long before they were doing anything remotely resembling modern riding competitions.

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                                      • #20
                                        I wonder if the dressage results are being talked about anywhere but horse bb's. Subjectively judged sports are never easy for the outsider but this year's dressage has been particularly challenging. I had a lot riding (but not dressage riding) friends say "but how can you win the silver when the horse was resisting in two tests" You can tell them "but it was just one movement" but when it is mystifying even to other horse people...not really a good sign. And I say this as someone who loves watching dressage.

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