It’s full steam ahead for Paris as definite entries are confirmed

With just over two weeks to go, the tension and excitement is at boiling point ahead of the much-anticipated Paris 2024 Olympic Games which will officially get underway with the Opening Ceremony on the evening of Friday 26 July.

Everything about these Games is destined to be spectacular, including the collection of iconic competition venues. And for the very first time the Opening Ceremony won’t be staged in a stadium, but instead will take place on the river Seine. It’s bound to be like nothing ever seen before.

Three years ago, the lead-in to the Tokyo 2020 Games had challenges such as  the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the statistics for equestrian sport in Tokyo were more impressive than ever, with a record number of countries fielding teams and individuals in the three disciplines of Dressage, Eventing and Jumping.

The Paris sport entries (FEI Definite Entries) reveal that the flags of 49 nations will fly high over 11 days of spectacular sport. A total of 200 athlete-and-horse combinations are listed, along with an additional 51 Alternates/Reserves. 

The three-member team format introduced in Tokyo has certainly changed the competition dynamic. Not only is the pressure more intense as each individual performance is so critical, but it has also opened the door for more countries to take part.

In Paris a total of 35 nations will line out in Jumping with 20 of those sending teams while individuals from a further 15 countries will take part. In Eventing a total of 27 countries will be represented by 16 teams and individuals from another 11 countries, and in Dressage 30 nations will compete, 15 sending teams and another 15 fielding individuals. 

When it comes to the venue, equestrian sport has arguably the most sensational of all 32 Olympic sports, as the Château de Versailles, a universally recognised symbol of France, will provide the most stunning backdrop.

Beyond its gardens lies 800 hectares of parkland criss-crossed by straight paths marking out woodland and fields. Some sections of land were lost during the Revolution and the 19th century, but the perimeter retained its original outline and its largest water feature, the Grand Canal designed by André Le Nôtre which runs east-west for 1,670 metres and stretches as far as the eye can see, will be a major feature on Eventing cross-country day when horses and riders gallop across pontoons to get from side to side.

The Canal took 11 years to complete, from 1668 to 1679. During the reign of King Louis XIV his fleet of vessels often resided there, and in the winter months the frozen surface was used for skating and sledding. 

The Park is normally open to the public free-of-charge all year round but, during Games time, there will be restricted access.
Equestrian Sport in the Olympic Movement

Equestrian sport has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912.

Team and individual medals are awarded in three disciplines - Dressage, Eventing and Jumping.

A three-per-team format applies for the equestrian events at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Canada’s Ian Millar holds the record – 10 – for the most Olympic appearances by any athlete in any sport. He first competed at the Munich Olympics in 1972 and his last Olympic appearance was at London 2012 at the age of 65. He won team silver at the Beijing Games in 2008. He will be Chef d’Equipe for the Canadian Jumping team in Paris which includes his daughter, Amy Millar who also competed at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

At the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games three years ago Sweden won Jumping team gold while Great Britain’s Ben Maher and Explosion claimed the individual title.

In Dressage Germany won the team title for an incredible 14th time and team-member Jessica von Bredow-Werndl and Dalera claimed the top step of the individual podium.

And in Eventing Germany’s Julia Krajewski and Amande de B’Neville were individual champions while Great Britain took team gold for the fourth time.

A Century Ago...

When Paris last staged the Games back in 1924 the principle equestrian venue was the Olympic Stadium of Colombes which lies 22kms from Versailles, while Eventing Endurance was held on the race-track at Auteuil and in the Bois de Boulogne.

A total of 17 nations sent horses and riders, and five countries - Belgium, Czechoslovakia, France, Sweden and Switzerland - sent full teams in all three disciplines. 

A total of 43 riders from 11 nations competed in Jumping and the individual winner was Switzerland’s Lt Alphonse Gemuseus riding the eight-year-old Irish-bred mare Lucette who was bought as an army remount in 1922 for £48. Sweden’s Lt Ake Thelning (Loke), Lt Axel Stahle (Cecil), Capt J Age Lundström (Anvers) and Capt Georg von Braun (Diana) claimed the Team Jumping title.

The 1924 individual Dressage title went to 56-year-old retired Swedish General Ernst von Linder partnering the Trakehner Piccolomini. His compatriots Bertil Sandström (Sabel), Capt Wilhelm von Essen (Zobel) and Lt Viktor Ankarcrona (Corona) finished second fourth and fifth respectively, and Sweden would have overwhelmingly won team gold if that was possible at the time. However the Dressage team competition was not introduced until 1928. The five judges and their assistants all sat together at a long table in 1924. 

In Eventing a format was introduced that would remain in place for many years to come consisting of Dressage, Roads and Tracks, Steeplechase, Cross-Country and Jumping phases. Team and Individual gold went to The Netherlands, with Lt Adolph DC van der Voort van Zijp (Silver Piece) taking the Individual title and joining Lt Charles P Pahud de Mortanges (Johnny Walker), Lt Gerard P de Kruijff (Addio) and Lt Anton T Colenbrander (King of Hearts) to top the Team podium.   
Paris 2024 Equestrian Statistics:

Jumping: 35 countries, 20 teams, 75 horse/athlete combinations
Eventing: 27 countries, 16 teams, 65 horse/athlete combinations
Dressage: 30 countries, 15 teams, 60 horse/athlete combinations

The Paris 2024 sport entries (FEI Definite Entries) also include additional reserve horses and riders.

The 49 NOCs represented in equestrian sport at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are:

Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Syria, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United States of America and Venezuela

Full Jumping Definite entries HERE

FEI press release
Photo: Tokyo Olympic Games 2020. © FEI/Christophe Tanière