Well, I’d much rather watch two heavily armoured people try to knock each other off their horses with giant sticks than dressage. English Heritage has launched a campaign to get jousting recognised as an Olympic sport ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Games, and I’m right behind it.
The organisation has already held preliminary talks with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Fédération Equestre Internationale, and thinks it has a good chance of making the cut if the sport organises itself in time.
“We are being deadly serious,” said Lucy Hutchings, English Heritage’s head of projects. “It is an incredible spectator sport, a really fascinating thing to watch. The skill of the knight and the horses make it a great thing to witness… we absolutely believe it deserves its place at the Olympic table.”
Race walking, synchronised swimming and fencing are three of the stranger events we’ve got to look forward to in Rio this summer, and Hutchings says the IOC is set to bring in a new rule permitting host nations to propose new events. Skateboarding, climbing and surfing are all reportedly under consideration.
“You have to be strong, not just physically but mentally, so you can sit fearlessly in your saddle, face your rival and offer yourself as a target,” said Dominic Sewell, English Heritage’s jousting guy. “Horses being prey animals, they are naturally designed to run away from things, so to persuade it to run towards another large clanging thing at speed takes time.”