TSX BULLETIN: FEI told to revamp Cross Country for LA28 Games by 1 March

Questions for equestrian for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.

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The respected British equestrian magazine Horse & Hound reported that the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) has been asked to reconfigure its competition program for the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

At issue is what to do about the high-profile Eventing discipline, which often has the Cross Country segment held apart from the arena-style setting for Dressage and Jumping. Per the report:

● “The [Eventing] discipline is not yet confirmed for the 2028 Games, although leading figures have ‘confidence’ it will be.”

● “In a pre-recorded video message, FEI president Ingmar de Vos [BEL] told the 2024 FEI online eventing seminar today (20 January) that eventing being included in the 2028 programme is subject to finding a venue that accommodates all equestrian disciplines on one site, including the cross-country phase.”

The IOC’s instructions to the FEI apparently came in the last half of December, with a proposal due by 1 March. The Eventing format – formerly known as the “Three-Day Event” – usually features Dressage first, then Jumping and finishes with the Cross Country test on the third day, with the final phase over a lengthy course. For Tokyo 2020, the Cross Country segment was planned for a 5,700 m course (~3.54 miles).

The course length often places the Cross Country aspect at a separate venue, which increases costs significantly and requires the horses to be transported. For 2028, the proposed equestrian venue is a temporary facility in the “Valley Sports Park” at the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area in the San Fernando Valley.

At the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the Dressage and Jumping events were held in a specially-arranged arena at Santa Anita Park, but the Cross Country program was accommodated 115 miles south at Fairbank Ranch near San Diego, to ensure cooler weather for the horses.

The story noted that both the IOC and its Olympic Broadcasting Services subsidiary would prefer to have the Cross Country element as the final event in the Eventing program, with the medals awarded after the finish of that competition.

Observed: This is a normal part of the Olympic planning process and venues are always moved around for cost and convenience reasons. For 2028, the LA28 Web site still shows the bid plan from 2017, but the rowing and flatwater canoeing events are already known to be moved from Lake Perris in Riverside County (east of Los Angeles) to the Long Beach Marine Stadium, site of the 1932 rowing events.

Further moves – beyond equestrian – are expected, and venues have yet to be announced for Skateboarding, Sport Climbing and Surfing, as well as the five newly-added sports of Baseball-Softball, Cricket, Flag Football, Lacrosse and Squash.

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