Category: Legends

Disciplines and Rules

Olympic disciplines

Singles competition for men and women (who are referred to as “ladies” in ISU rulebooks), wherein individual skaters perform jumps, spins, step sequences, spirals, and other elements in their programs.
Pair skating teams consist of a woman and a man. Pairs perform elements that are specific to the discipline such as throw jumps, in which the man ‘throws’ the woman into a jump; lifts, in which the woman is held above the man’s head in one of various grips and positions; pair spins, in which both skaters spin together about a common axis; death spirals; and other elements such as side-by-side jumps and spins in unison.
Ice dancing is again for couples consisting of a woman and a man skating together. Ice dance differs from pairs in focusing on intricate footwork performed in close dance holds, in time with the music. In ice dancing, lifts must not go above the shoulder, and throws and jumps are disallowed.
The four disciplines of men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pair skating and ice dancing also appeared as part of a team event for the first time at the 2014 Winter Olympics.[12]

Other disciplines

Synchronized skating

Lifts performed by the Haydenettes, 21-time U.S. national champions
Synchronized skating (formerly known as precision skating) is for mixed-gender groups of 12 to 20 skaters. This discipline resembles a group form of ice dance with additional emphasis on precise formations of the group as a whole and complex transitions between formations. The basic formations include wheels, blocks, lines, circles, and intersections. The close formations and need for the team to stay in unison add to the difficulty of the footwork performed by the skaters in these elements. A formal proposal for inclusion in the Olympics was submitted by the International Skating Union to the International Olympic Committee in September 2014.[13]
Fours, a discipline in which a team of four skaters, consisting of two men and two women, perform singles and pairs elements in unison, as well as unique elements that involve all four skaters.
Special figures is the tracing of elaborate original designs on the ice. It was a common discipline in the early days of skating and appeared once at the Olympics, in 1908.
Theatre on ice, also known as “ballet on ice” in Europe. This is a form of group skating that is less structured than synchronized skating and allows the use of props and theatrical costuming.
Adagio skating, a form of pair skating most commonly seen in ice shows, where the skaters perform many acrobatic lifts but few or none of the other elements which competitive pairs must perform.
Acrobatic skating, also known as “Acrobatics on ice” or “Extreme Skating”, is a combination of circus arts, technical artistic gymnastics skills, and figure skating.

Elements and moves
Main article: Glossary of figure skating terms
Each element receives a score according to its base value and grade of execution (GOE), resulting in a combined technical elements score (TES). At competitions, a technical specialist identifies each element. Elements may be assigned a level of difficulty, ranging from B (Basic) to Level 4 (most difficult).[14] A panel of judges determines GOE, ranging from +3 to -3, based on how well the skaters execute the elements. The GOE is weighted according to the element’s base value.[14]

The ISU defines a fall as a loss of control with the result that the majority of the skater’s body weight is not on the blade but supported by hands, knees, or buttocks.[15]

Main article: Figure skating jumps
ISU abbreviations:
T Toe loop
S Salchow
Lo Loop
F Flip
Lz Lutz
A Axel
File:Figure Skating.webmhd.webm
Video demonstrating figure skating jumps
Jumps involve the skater leaping into the air and rotating rapidly to land after completing one or more rotations. There are many types of jumps, identified by the way the skater takes off and lands, as well as by the number of rotations that are completed.

Each jump receives a score according to its base value and grade of execution (GOE).[14] Quality of execution, technique, height, speed, flow and ice coverage are considered by the judges. An under-rotated jump (indicated by < ) is “missing rotation of more than ¼, but less than ½ revolution” and receives 70% of the base value. A downgraded jump (indicated by <<) is “missing rotation of ½ revolution or more”. A triple which is downgraded is treated as a double, while a downgraded double is treated as a single jump.

An edge violation occurs when a skater executes a jump on the incorrect edge. The hollow is a groove on the bottom of the blade which creates two distinct edges, inside and outside. The inside edge of the blade is on the side closest to the skater, the outside edge is on the side farthest from the skater, and a flat refers to skating on both edges at the same time, which is discouraged. An unclear edge or edge violation is indicated with an ‘e’ and reflected in the GOE according to the severity of the problem. Flutz and lip are the colloquial terms for a Lutz and flip jump with an edge violation.

In 1982, the International Skating Union enacted a rule stating that a skater may perform each type of triple only once, or twice if one of them is incorporated into a combination or sequence. For a set of jumps to be considered a combination, each jump must take off from the landing edge of the previous jump, with no steps, turns, or change of edge in between jumps. Toe loops and loops are commonly performed as the second or third jump in a combination because they take off from the back outside edge of the landing foot, or skating leg. To perform a salchow or flip on the back end of a combination, a half loop (which is actually a full rotation, but lands on a back inside edge of the landing leg) may be used as a connecting jump. In contrast, jump sequences are sets of jumps which may be linked by non-listed jumps or hops.[16] Sequences are worth 80% of what the same jumps executed in combination would be worth.

Jumps may be rotated in clockwise or counter-clockwise direction. Most skaters are counter-clockwise jumpers. For clarity, all jumps will be described for a skater jumping counter-clockwise.

There are six jumps in figure skating that count as jump elements. All six are landed on one foot on the back outside edge (with counterclockwise rotation, for single and multi-revolution jumps), but have different takeoffs, by which they may be distinguished. The two categories of jumps are toe jumps and edge jumps.

The number of rotations performed in the air determines whether the jump is a single, double, triple, or quadruple (known commonly as a “quad”). The simplest jump begins with a waltz jump which can only be done in a half-leap and is not classified as a single, double, or triple jump. Senior-level male single skaters perform mostly triple and quadruple jumps in competition. Triple jumps other than the Axel are commonly performed by female single skaters. Only one female skater, Miki Ando, has been credited with a quadruple jump in international competition.

Some elite skaters can complete a jump in about one second, with 26 inches of height and 10 feet in distance.[citation needed] The takeoff speed of a jump can reach up to 15 mph.[citation needed]

Toe jumps
Toe jumps are launched by tapping the toe pick of one skate into the ice, and include (in order of difficulty from easiest to hardest [17]

Toe loops take off from the back outside edge of the left or right foot and are launched by the same toe pick (toe walleys are similar, but take off from the back inside edge of the right foot);
Flips, which take off from the back inside edge of the right or left foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick;
Lutzes, which take off from the back outside edge of the right or left foot and are launched by the opposite toe pick.
Edge jumps

An axel jump
Edge jumps use no toe assist, and include:

Salchows, which take off from either the left or right back inside edge. Allowing the edge to come round, the opposite leg helps launch the jump into the air and land on one foot;
Loops (also known as Rittberger jumps) take off from either the left or right back outside edge and land on the same edge;
Axels, which are the only rotating jump to take off from a forward edge. Because they take off from a forward edge, they include one-half extra rotation(s).
Other jumps
There are also a number of other jumps that are usually performed only as single jumps and in elite skating are used as transitional movements or highlights in step sequences. These include the half toe loop (ballet jump), half loop, half flip, walley jump, waltz jump, inside Axel, one-foot Axel, and split jump. There are two kinds of split jump:

Russian split, performed in a position that is similar to that of a straddle split
ladies split, performed in the position of the more traditional split, facing the direction of the front leg

Ross Miner sets up for a jump.

Denis Ten sets up for a jump.

Kevin van der Perren rotates in the air.

Jamal Othman lands on the right back outside edge.

Pairs skaters Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir set up for a throw jump

A pair team after the woman has been thrown: Jessica Miller rotates in the air.

Anabelle Langlois lands after performing a throw jump with Cody Hay.

Figure, Skating, Championships, DancingSpins

Spins are a required element in all four Olympic disciplines. There are three basic positions — sit, camel, and upright — and numerous variations.

Camel spin variations include catch-foot, layover, and doughnut.
Sit spin variations include pancake, broken leg, tuck behind, cannonball, and clam.
Upright spin variations include layback, Biellmann, haircutter, layover layback, and pearl.
During a spin, the skater rotates on the round part of the blade, called the front rocker, just behind the toe pick (the ball of the foot). Spins may be performed individually or in a sequence combining different types of spins. A spin may be executed on the back rocker of the blade during a change of edge spin. For example, a back scratch spin will flip edges to a forward inside edge. This feature of a spin will change the level of a spin. Spins may be performed on either foot. Like jumping, skaters mostly rotate in the counterclockwise direction, but there are some skaters who rotate in the clockwise direction. Some skaters are able to rotate in both directions. For skaters who rotate in a counterclockwise direction, a spin on the left foot is called a forward spin, while a spin on the right foot is called a back spin. When learning to spin, one will typically learn a forward spin then once completing that will learn how to execute a back spin.

When performing some types of spins, an elite skater can complete on average 6 rotations per second, and about 70 rotations in a single spin.[18]

Spins can be entered on the ice or through a jump or sequence of jumps known as star jumps. Spins that are entered through a jump are calling flying spins. Flying spins include the flying camel, flying sit spin, death drop, and butterfly spin. Flying spins may go from a forward spin to a back spin. A flying spin can also be performed as part of a spin sequence.

In pair skating, spins may be performed side-by-side with both partners doing the same spin or combination spin at the same time. Additionally, in pairs and in ice dancing, there are pair and dance spins, during which both skaters rotate around the same axis while holding onto each other.

Camel spin

Sit spin

Upright spin

Pair camel spin

Pair spin with lady in layback and man in sit spin

Layback spin with catch-foot

Biellmann spin

Death drop

Main article: Figure skating lifts

A one arm overhead lift in pair skating
Lifts are a required element in pair skating and ice dancing.

Pair lifts
Pair lifts are generally overhead. According to the current ISU rules for senior-level competition, the man must rotate more than once, but fewer than three-and-a-half times. In competitive pair skating, lifts must travel across the ice to be included in the technical elements score (TES); stationary lifts are included in choreography. Pair lifts are grouped by the holds involved.

Legal holds:

Armpit holds are not generally used in elite senior competition.
Waist holds
Hand-to-hip holds
Hand-to-hand lifts are divided into two types:
Press lifts
Lasso lifts, in order of increasing difficulty:[14]
Toe or step in lasso
Axel or backward lasso
Reverse lasso
The judges look at speed, ice coverage, the quality of the lady’s position, position changes, and the man’s stability and cleanness of turns throughout. Skaters may also raise their score by having a difficult entry such as in spiral or spread eagle position, a difficult exit, or other features such as stopping the rotation, turning a carry lift into rotational one, or reversing rotation (i.e. both clockwise and counter-clockwise directions).

Twist lifts are a form of pair lifts, where the lifted partner is thrown into the air, twists, and is caught by the lifted partner. The lady is caught by her waist in the air and lands on the backward outside edge. Some pairs include a split before rotating. This is credited as a difficult feature if each leg is separated by at least a 45° angle from the body axis and the legs are straight or almost straight. Scores are also affected by the height of the twist, turns, steps or other moves before the element, the lady holding her arms over her head, delayed rotation, etc.Ice Skating Dancing Competition Figure Dan

Dance lifts
Ice dancers are not allowed to lift their partners above their shoulders. Dance lifts are separated into short lifts and long lifts. There are many positions each partner can take to raise the difficulty of a lift. Each position must be held for at least three seconds to count and is permitted only once in a program.

Short lifts may last up to six seconds in competition on the senior level.

Stationary lift – A lift performed “on the spot”. The lifting partner does not move across the ice, but is allowed to rotate.
Straight line lift – The lifting partner moves in a straight line across the ice. This lift may be performed on one foot or two.
Curve lift – The lifting partner moves along a curve across the ice. This lift may be performed on one foot or two.
Rotational lift – The lifting partner rotates in one direction while traveling across the ice.
Long lifts may last up to ten seconds in competition on the senior level.

Reverse rotational lift – The lifting partner rotates in one direction, then switches and rotates in the other direction, while traveling across the ice.
Serpentine lift – The lifting partner moves in a serpentine pattern across the ice.
Combination lift – A lift combining two of the four short lifts. Each part of the lift must be fully established.
In both pairs and dance, lifts that go on longer than allowed receive deductions.

Turns, steps, moves in the field, and other moves
Step sequences are a required element in all four Olympic disciplines. The pattern can be straight line, circular, or serpentine. The step sequence consists of a combination of turns, steps, hops and edge changes. Additionally, steps and turns can be used as transitions between elements. The various turns, which skaters can incorporate into step sequences, include:

Three turns, so called because the blade turns into the curve of the edge or lobe to leave a tracing resembling the numeral “3”.

Bracket turns, in which the blade is turned counter to the curve of the lobe, making a tracing resembling a bracket (“}”).

Mohawks, the two-foot equivalents of three turns and brackets.

Rockers, one-foot turns that involve a change of lobe as well as of direction.

Counters, one-foot turns that involve a change of lobe as well as of direction.

Twizzles, traveling multi-rotation turns on one foot

Choctaws are the two-foot equivalents of rockers and counters. Other movements that may be incorporated into step sequences or used as connecting elements include lunges and spread eagles. An Ina Bauer is similar to a spread eagle performed with one knee bent and typically an arched back. Hydroblading refers to a deep edge performed with the body as low as possible to the ice in a near-horizontal position.

Moves in the field emphasize basic skating skill and edge control. In the context of a competitive program, they include spirals, spread eagles, Ina Bauers, hydroblading, and similar extended edge moves.

A spiral is an element in which the skater moves across the ice on a specific edge with the free leg held at hip level or above. Spirals are distinguished by the edge of the blade used (inside or outside), the direction of motion (forward or backward), and the skater’s position. A spiral sequence is one or more spiral positions and edges done in sequence. Judges look at the depth, stability, and control of the skating edge, speed and ice coverage, extension, and other factors. Some skaters are able to change edges during a spiral, i.e. from inside to outside edge. Spirals performed on a “flat” are generally not considered as true spirals. Spiral sequences are required in ladies’ and pair skating.

A death spiral is a required element of pair skating. There are four varieties distinguished by the lady’s edge and direction of motion. The man performs a pivot, one toe anchored in the ice, while holding the hand of his partner, who circles him on a deep edge with her body almost parallel to the ice. As of 2011, the woman’s head must at some time reach her skating knee. The man must also be in a full pivot position and the death spiral must be held for a minimum amount of rotation, depending on the level.

A basic outside edge spiral position with the free leg held unsupported behind the body.

A pair outside edge spiral in a catch-foot position.

Back inside death spiral.

Parallel mirror spread eagles with the male on an inside edge and the female on an outside edge.

Ina Bauer

Ice dancers in lunge position


Male ice dancer in Besti squat while lifting partner

Compulsory figures
Compulsory figures involves using blades to draw circles, figure 8s, and similar shapes in ice. Skaters are judged on the accuracy and clarity of the figures and the cleanness and exact placement of the various turns on the circles. Figures were formerly included as a component of singles competitions but were eliminated from international events in 1990.[19] The United States was the last country to retain a separate test and competitive structure for compulsory figures, but the last national-level figures championship was held in 1999. Moves in the field (known in the United Kingdom as field moves) replaced compulsory figures as a discipline to teach the same turns and edge skills. As of 2015, The World Figure Sport Society formed in Lake Placid, NY has hosted The World Figure Championships in 2015, 2016, and 2017, acting to preserve the historic origins of Figure Skating, and offering a perfect black ice surface on which the World Championships in figures is held.

History of Fencing

Fencing traces its roots to the development of swordsmanship for duels and self defense. Fencing is believed to have originated in Spain; some of the most significant books on fencing were written by Spanish fencers. Treatise on Arms[3] was written by Diego de Valera between 1458 and 1471 and is one of the oldest surviving manuals on western fencing (in spite of the title, the book of Diego Valera was on heraldry, not about fencing)[4] shortly before dueling came under official ban by the Catholic Monarchs. In conquest, the Spanish forces carried fencing around the world, particularly to southern Italy, one of the major areas of strife between both nations.[5][6] Fencing was mentioned in the play The Merry Wives of Windsor written sometime prior to 1602.

The mechanics of modern fencing originated in the 18th century in an Italian school of fencing of the Renaissance, and under their influence, were improved by the French school of fencing.[9][10] The Spanish school of fencing stagnated and was replaced by the Italian and French schools.

Development into a sport
The shift towards fencing as a sport rather than as military training happened from the mid-18th century, and was led by Domenico Angelo, who established a fencing academy, Angelo’s School of Arms, in Carlisle House, Soho, London in 1763.[11] There, he taught the aristocracy the fashionable art of swordsmanship. His school was run by three generations of his family and dominated the art of European fencing for almost a century. [12]

1763 fencing print from Domenico Angelo’s instruction book. Angelo was instrumental in turning fencing into an athletic sport.
He established the essential rules of posture and footwork that still govern modern sport fencing, although his attacking and parrying methods were still much different from current practice. Although he intended to prepare his students for real combat, he was the first fencing master to emphasize the health and sporting benefits of fencing more than its use as a killing art, particularly in his influential book L’École des armes (The School of Fencing), published in 1763.

The first regularized fencing competition was held at the inaugural Grand Military Tournament and Assault at Arms in 1880, held at the Royal Agricultural Hall, in Islington in June. The Tournament featured a series of competitions between army officers and soldiers. Each bout was fought for five hits and the foils were pointed with black to aid the judges. The Amateur Gymnastic & Fencing Association drew up an official set of fencing regulations in 1896.

Fencing was part of the Olympics Games in the summer of 1896. Sabre events have been held at every Summer Olympics; foil events have been held at every Summer Olympics except 1908; épée events have been held at every Summer Olympics except in the summer of 1896 because of unknown reasons.

Starting with épée in 1933, side judges were replaced by the Laurent-Pagan electrical scoring apparatus,[14] with an audible tone and a red or green light indicating when a touch landed. Foil was automated in 1956, sabre in 1988. The scoring box reduced the bias in judging, and permitted more accurate scoring of faster actions, lighter touches, and more touches to the back and flank than before.

History of Equestrian

1900 Paris Games
Equestrian events were first held at the 1900 Paris Olympic Games, although it did not include any of the disciplines seen today. There were 4 different equestrian events.

The polo competition consisted of 4 teams made up of players from Britain, France, Mexico, Spain, and the United States.

Grand Prix Jumping, which was similar to today’s show jumping event, for which 45 competitors entered, though only 37 competed.[2] The first and second place was taken by riders from Belgium (1. Aimé Haageman on Benton II, 2. Georges van der Poële riding Winsor Squire), while a French rider, Louis de Champsavin, on his mount Terpsichore, got the third place.

The High Jump competition resulted in a tie between French rider Dominique Gardere on Canela and Italian Gian Giorgio Trissino on Oreste, with both of their horses clearing 1.85 meters, and the bronze was given to Constant van Langendonck of Belgium, whose mount, Extra Dry, cleared 1.70 meters. However, Constant van Langendonck and Extra Dry were able to clinch the gold in the Long Jump competition, clearing a distance of 6.10 meters. Trissino and Oreste won the silver, clearing 5.70 meters, and M. de Bellegarde of France won the bronze with the 5.30 meter jump by his mount Tolla.

Return of Equestrian Competition
Equestrian competition was dropped from the 1904 Olympic Games, and owed its return to Count Clarence von Rosen, Master of the Horse to the King of Sweden, for bringing it back.[3] The 1906 IOC Congress agreed to his proposal to add dressage, eventing, and show jumping to the program of the upcoming 1908 Olympic Games in London. However, due to problems with the newly formed International Horse Show Committee, they were not introduced until the 1912 Games in Stockholm and only a polo event was held in 1908. These three disciplines would be held at every Summer Olympic Games through to the present day.

Participation of Non-Officers and Women
Until the 1952 Summer Olympics, only commissioned military officers and “gentlemen” were permitted to compete in the Olympic equestrian disciplines,[4] which had the effect of excluding all women and all men serving in the military but not holding officers’ commissions.

In 1952, however, all men were permitted to compete in all equestrian disciplines, and women were permitted to compete in Dressage.[5] Women were later permitted to compete in Jumping in 1956 and in Eventing in 1964. Since then, equestrianism has been one of the very few Olympic sports in which men and women compete with and directly against one another. In team competition, teams may have any blend of male and female competitors, and are not required to have minimum numbers of either gender; countries are free to choose the best riders, irrespective of gender.

Polo and Vaulting in the Olympics
Following the 1900 Olympic Games, polo would be held an additional 4 times: at the 1908 London Games, the 1920 Antwerp Games, the 1924 Paris Games, and the 1936 Berlin Games. The 1908 Olympics had just 3 polo teams, all representing Great Britain. The 1920 Games included a team from Belgium, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States, with Great Britain again winning the gold medal. It was not until 1924, after Argentina sent a team to Paris, that the gold changed hands. Argentina also won gold at the 1936 Olympic Games.

Vaulting was only held once, at the 1920 Antwerp Games. Vaulting included both a team and an individual competition, with the entrants having to perform movements at the canter and at the halt, both with a saddle and bareback. Three nations sent teams: the gold medal-winning Belgium, France, and Sweden. The individual competition was again made up of competitors from only Belgium, France, and Sweden, with Belgium’s M. Bouckaert winning gold medal, and the silver and bronze medals going respectively to France’s M. Fields and M. Finet.

Dressage in the Olympic Games
Dressage has changed dramatically since the 1912 Olympics. The dressage horse no longer has to jump, but the test on the flat has become increasingly difficult, emphasizing the piaffe and the passage. Today’s horses are specifically bred for dressage and have movement far more extravagant when compared to the horses of the early 20th century.

Only individual medals were awarded at the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Games, with team medals awarded at all Olympics following that point.

1912 Stockholm Olympics
The 1912 Stockholm Olympics held the first Olympic dressage competition, featuring 21 riders from 8 countries (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States). Dressage horses were required to perform 3 tests: a test on the flat, a jumping test, and an obedience test.

The test on the flat could only be a maximum of ten minutes in length and was ridden in what is now called the “small arena,” a 20 meter by 40 meter space. The difficulty was much less than it is today, similar to the USDF Fourth Level. The test, as it is today, scored each movement on a 0–10 scale. Required gaits included the “free” and “easy” walk, the “slow” and “extended” trot, and the “slow” and “extended” canter, all of which were to be performed on both reins. The horse also had to demonstrate “ordinary turns,” small circles at the slow trot, 8-meter circles at the canter, figure-eights at the canter (both performing a flying change in the center, as well as without a flying change, the second circle being at counter canter), four or more flying changes on a straight line, turn on the haunches, and reinback. At this time, piaffe, passage, and all other haute ecole movements were not allowed (including the airs above the ground and the Spanish Walk). Extra points could be earned if the rider rode with both reins in one hand, especially if this were performed at the canter.

Additionally, all dressage horses were required to jump 4 obstacles which were a maximum of 1.1 meters high, and another fence with a 3-meter spread. They were then asked to perform an “obedience test,” riding the horse near spooky objects.

Riders were required to wear informal uniform if they were military officers, or black or pink coats with silk hats if they were civilians. Horses had to be ridden in a double bridle, and martingales and bearing reins were prohibited.

1920 Antwerp, 1924 Paris, 1928 Amsterdam, and 1932 Los Angeles Olympics
17 riders from 5 countries participated in the dressage competition at the 1920 Antwerp Olympic Games. The test was now ridden required to be ridden from memory, and was held in a slightly larger arena (50m by 20m).

“Slow” was changed to “Collected” on the test sheet. Collected walk, trot, and canter were required, as was extended trot posting followed by collected trot sitting. A 5-loop serpentine was introduced, to be ridden at the canter, both with flying lead changes and with counter-canter loops. The counter change of hand with flying changes was also introduced, as was 4-, 3-, 2-, and 1-tempi changes. The halt was performed through the walk, and followed by a salute.

The Paris Games had 24 riders competing from 9 countries. The test was similar to that used for the 1920 Games.

The 1928 Olympics saw an increase in the time allowed for the test, from 10 up to 13 minutes. Riders lost 2 points per second over the time.

The most significant change at the 1932 Los Angeles Games was the introduction of the piaffe and passage. Only 10 riders from 4 countries competed due to the aftermath of World War I.

1936 Berlin Olympics
29 riders from 11 countries participated. The test length increased again to 17 minutes.

The test included an 8-second halt, half-turns on the haunches at the walk, riding with reins in one hand at the trot, “ordinary” and extended trot while posting, a 5-loop canter serpentine with each loop 8-meters in diameter, the canter pirouette, four-, three-, two-, and one-tempi changes, and the piaffe and passage. The highest coefficient for the test was bending on two-tracks at the collected trot and collected canter.

1948 London Olympics
19 riders from 9 countries competed. Due to World War II, there was not sufficient time to prepare the dressage horses for the 1948 Games. Therefore, piaffe and passage were not placed on the tests. However, half-pass, renvers, canter pirouettes, and tempi changes were included, with the highest coefficient on the one-tempis.

Later Olympic Games
Today, the format for the dressage competition begins with a Grand Prix test to determine the winners of the team competition. The top 25 competitors in the Grand Prix then perform a second test, the Grand Prix Special, which is shortened and emphasizes the piaffe and passage. The top 13 of this group then goes onto the Grand Prix Freestyle (first introduced at the 1996 Olympics), which is written by each individual rider according to strict guidelines, and set to music. These scores help determine the individual medalists.

The test has remained relatively unchanged, except for the fact that renvers is no longer included in the Grand Prix and Grand Prix Special Classes.

Eventing in the Olympic Games
Introduced in 1912, three-day eventing originally only allowed active military officers to compete, and only on mounts either owned by themselves or by their military branch.

1912 Stockholm Olympics
The competition was held over 5 days. Day 1 was the Endurance Test, consisting of 55 km (34 mi) on roads (with a time allowed of 4 hours, giving a speed of approx. 230 meters per minute), immediately followed by a 5 km cross-country course at a speed of 333 meters per minute. Time penalties were given for exceeding the time allowed, but no bonus points were given for being fast.

Day 2 was a rest day, before the horses set off on the Speed Test on Day 3, over a steeplechase course that was 3.5 km with 10 plain obstacles, at 600 mpm.

Day 4 was the Jumping Test (“Prize Jumping”), which consisted of 15 obstacles, maximum 1.3 meters high and 3.0 meters wide.

Day 5 was the Dressage Test (“Prize Riding”), which was similar to the individual dressage test that year, except the horses were not required to do figure-eights, flying changes, or the jumping and obedience tests that were required of the dressage horses.

Horses had to carry at least 80 kg and had to be wearing a double bridle. Riders were required to be attired in informal uniform.

1920 Antwerp Olympics
There were significant changes in the format for the 1920 Olympics, most notable was the removal of the dressage test. 25 riders from 8 nations competed.

Horses began on Day 1 with a 45 km roads and tracks test to be completed in 3.5 hours. This was followed by a 5 km cross-country test, with 18 obstacles between 1.1–1.15 meters high, with a time limit of 12.5 minutes.

Day 2 consisted of a second roads and tracks test that was 20 km, with a time limit of 1 hour. The horse was then examined by a vet, and eliminated if lame or too exhausted to continue. The horse then went on to do a 4,000 meter steeplechase at 550 mpm. Unlike the previous year, speed was rewarded, with riders earning 1/2 point if they rode it at 600 mpm and 1 point if it was ridden at 650 mpm (this system of bonus points was eliminated in 1971). They were penalized 1 point for every second under the time. A new rule was also instituted which eliminated riders after three refusals, run-outs, or falls.

The jumping test consisted of 18 obstacles, a maximum of 1.25 meters high, on a 1,150 meter course. There was a 3-minute time limit, again rewarding speed with an extra 1/2 point for every second under the time, adding 1/4 point for every second over. Unlike today’s show jumping tests, some obstacles had to be cleared multiple times during the test, at a different part of the fence each time. Riders gained points for refusals, run-outs, falls, and going off-course.

The required weight was reduced to 75 kg, where it would remain for several decades. Riders could also wear dark or “pink” coats instead of informal uniform attire. All riders had to wear white breeches and silk hats.

1924 Paris Olympics
The 1924 Games again changed the format to what would be seen today. 44 competitors from 13 countries took part.

Dressage was held over two days due to the large number of entries. The test was now required to be held in a 20×60 meter arena, and a time limit was instituted (10 minute 30 seconds maximum). Riders had to demonstrate the walk, the “ordinary” (working) trot both rising and sitting, the “slow” (collected) trot, the extended trot, the “ordinary” and extended canter. They also had to show small circles, the halt, reinback, and counter-canter. There was new rule this year that required a double bridle but would not allow martingales, bandages, or bearing reins. Riders could now wear hunt caps in addition to silk hats.

The cross-country test on Day 3 was similar to what is now called the “long format” test, and was a true endurance test, taking 2 hours, 1 minute, and 47 seconds. It consisted of 5 phases. Phase A was a 7 km roads and tracks test at 240 mpm, followed by Phase B, a 4 km steeplechase at 550–600 mpm, then Phase C, a second roads and tracks at 240 mpm that was 15 km long. The horse then went on the 8 km cross-country test (Phase D) at a speed of only 450 mpm. Unlike today, the rider then had to complete a 2 km canter on the flat at 333 mpm (Phase E, which was abolished in 1967).

The 4th day held the jumping test.

1928 Amsterdam Olympics
This Olympic Games was similar to the 1924 Olympics. A few changes were made, however. In dressage, the time limit was raised to 11 minutes, and competitors lost 2 points for every second over this limit. Endurance day saw an increase in the steeplechase speed from 550 to 600 mpm. Stadium jumping rules changed to specify the course- 12 obstacles to be ridden at 375 mpm, with the competitor losing 1/2 point for every second over time.

The format and rules remained relatively unchanged through the 1932 Olympic Games.

1936 Berlin Olympics
The Berlin Games saw new rules designed to help protect the horse, mostly regarding the use of performance-altering drugs, especially stimulants and sedatives. Additionally, horses that were exhausted or lame following the endurance test were to be eliminated.

The weight requirement of at least 165 lbs, previously required for all rides, was dropped for the dressage phase, although it remained for stadium jumping and the endurance test. Scoring of the Stadium phase was weighed to make it significantly less-important than the Endurance test.

50 riders competed in the eventing competition, but only 27 finished, mostly due to one particular fence on cross-country (see Equestrian at the 1936 Summer Olympics).

1948 London Olympics
The 1948 Games had 46 entrants, including competitors from Argentina, Portugal, and Brazil. Dressages tests now included half-pass at the trot. The endurance test was reduced to 22 km of roads and tracks, a 3.5 km steeplechase, and 8 km on cross-country (a total of 33.5 km).

Olympics through the 1990s
Olympic Games from 1952 to 1996 saw few changes in format or rules. Dressage introduced the single flying change.

The Endurance test also saw some changes. Steeplechase speed increased to 690 mpm. Cross-country was shortened by 2 km and required 32–34 fences that were a maximum of 1.2 meters in height, and was to be ridden at the heightened speed of 570 mpm. Additionally, the 75 kg required for jumping was reduced to 70 kg for the 1996 Games, and abolished 2 years later.

Women were allowed to ride in equestrian events in 1952. However, it was not until Helena du Pont competed for the United States at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics that eventing saw its first woman representing her country.

The 1996 Games also provided a testing grounds for new methods of cooling the horses after cross-country, including misting fans, and added an additional hold during Phase C to ensure the horses were cooling properly. Also during this time was an extensive study performed on the event horses at the Games to study the effects of heat and different methods of cooling. These studies provided a great deal of valuable information, debunking several myths, and the results have been useful to horsemen outside of eventing as well. This was the first time where an extensive veterinary study was conducted in conjunction with the Games.

2004 Athens Olympics
The traditional Endurance test, known as the “classic format,” included roads and tracks (Phase A and C), steeplechase (Phase B), and cross-country (Phase D). At the 2004 Olympics, the “short format” was introduced, removing phases A, B, and C from the endurance day. This was intended to reduce the amount of space needed to hold an Olympic-level competition, thereby helping to ensure that the sport was not ousted by the IOC from the Olympics. This format has drawn criticism from various members of the sport, but is now considered to be the “standard” competition format at all levels.

Show jumping in the Olympic Games