Olympics: Include jousting in Games, application pushes – BBC News

Image copyright Robert Smith
Image caption The first jousting tournament in England took place in 1066

A petition calling for jousting to be made an Olympic sport has been launched by English Heritage.

The charity’s jousting expert Dominic Sewell told BBC’s Radio 5 live that the medieval pursuit was a “worldwide phenomenon that should be recognised”.

Only about 20 people in the UK joust competitively, but the donation said tournaments were held across the world.

The International Olympic Committee( IOC) said it was “unaware” of any official request for its recognition.

Olympic bid

For a athletic to be included in the Olympic Games programme, it must be governed by an international federation, performed widely across the world, and gratify other various criteria before being considered by the IOC’s executive board.

English Heritage said it had made an initial approaching to the IOC and the Federation Equestre Internationale( FEI) – which decides all Olympic equestrian punishments – as a first step on jousting’s superhighway to the Olympics.

Jousting would need to be recognised by the FEI before it could be considered as an Olympic sport by the IOC, English Heritage said.

Media captionEnglish Heritage says jousting should be made an Olympic sport

Mr Sewell, who jousts competitively, said: “Just like the Olympic British equestrian squad, we go beautiful horses to an exceptional level.”

He said jousting required a “huge amount of knowledge and a daily civilize regime”, adding one “mustve been” “strong , not just physically but mentally, in order to be allowed to sit fearlessly in your saddle, face your competitor, and volunteer yourself as a target”.

Not precisely a hobby

Mr Sewell, a former furniture assembler in a factory, said: “This has proceeded from has become a pastime to becoming a boast and a career.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the best interests was initially been fuelled by visiting historic re-enactments, but contributed: “I’m a sportsman, I’m not an actor.”

Mr Sewell went on: “As soon as I got on a mare everything changed and I guessed ‘this is what I want to do, I want to be good at this’.”

English Heritage admitted it could be a “long road” to get jousting recognised as an Olympic sport, but said there were “encouraging signs”.

Tournaments were to increase popularity, the benevolence said, and were now held in countries such as Belgium, Brazil and New Zealand.

In the US, where jousting has been government officials regime athletic of Maryland since 1962, challengers have propelled a similar Olympic campaign.


Jousting: The rules

Image copyright Nigel Wallace-Iles
Image caption Competitors in a single combat situation at a jousting tournament

Jousting today is “quite a safe boast to take part in”, Mr Sewell says.

“The rulers are virtually that you are in a single combat place, in a designated area, in a tar – or ’tilt-yard’ – and in that yard is a incline rail.”

The opponents charge down the railway towards one another with moments awarded on the form and forte of their hit.

Wearing a suit of armour weighing around 20 kg, the athletes impound a 12 ft lance in one side and their horse’s controls in the other, all while razzing towards their antagonists at a flat-out gallop – at speeds of up to 30 mph.

“These daytimes injuries are few and far between … but the strange un-horsing might result in a few traumata, ” Mr Sewell says.


The IOC said its programme was currently being addressed as part of the Olympic Agenda 2020, the group’s programme for the future of the Olympics.

A spokesman said: “One recommendation was to form the Olympic programme more flexible by moving from a sport-based to an event-based programme.”

Earlier this month, the IOC substantiated a attempt to add karate, skateboarding, plays climbing, surfing and baseball/ softball to the programme for Tokyo 2020.

If approved, the inclusion would include 18 happenings and 474 jocks to the Olympic Games.

King killed

Jousting, with its roots in Ancient Greece, where it was practised as part of planning for campaign, have appeared in England in the 10 th Century as a boast for knights to hone their equine and lance skills.

The first jousting tournament in England is said to have been arranged by the Frenchman Godfrey de Preuilly in 1066.

The tournaments grew so popular that in the 12 th Century, King Henry II censored the athletic, as he considered it too dangerous to have a number of highly skilled knights in the same plaza at the same time.

The ban was face-lift under King Richard I and the play continued favourite, particularly during the Tudor era, until refusing after the French King Henry II was killed during a joust in 1559.

Jousting enjoyed a resurrection under 19 th Century romanticism, with writers such Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Sir Walter Scott glamorising the idea of chivalry with narrations of knights and fair girls.

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