21/07/2016Make jousting an Olympic sport
- As Team GB heads to Rio we call on you to sign our petition to help make jousting an Olympic sport.
The sport of jousting is over 1,000 years old - one of the oldest equestrian sports in the world and England's first national sport. Now we are calling for you to sign the petition which could help jousting to be recognised as an Olympic sport.
Athleticism and skill
Today's jouster needs the same athleticism, agility, skill and strength as the professional athletes heading to Rio de Janeiro this summer. Wearing up to 20kg of steel armour, the athletes hold a 12ft lance in one hand and their horse's reins in the other, while thundering towards their opponents at speeds of up to 30mph. Points are awarded depending on where the lance strikes - contrary to popular belief, the purpose of a joust is not to knock your opponent off their horse.
Jousting also shares similar attributes to sports already featured at the Olympic Games. Like existing Olympic equestrian events (which traditionally Team GB have medal hopes in), much hinges on the artistry and poise of both the horse and its rider. And similar to fencing, jousting requires dexterity and weapons expertise.
It's also a sport which both sexes can participate in equally. Elite female jousters Nicky Willis and Alix van Zijl, two of the leading jousters on the European circuit, are facing their male counterparts on the field this summer.
English Heritage's jousting expert Dominic Sewell says: "Jousting is a sport that requires a huge amount of skill and involves a daily training regime. 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. And just like the Olympic British equestrian team, we ride beautiful horses to an exceptional level."
Popularity of Jousting
Jousting tournaments are not only held in England but throughout the world, from Belgium to New Zealand. In the United States, a similar campaign has been launched and jousting is already recognised as a sport by a number of US states, including Maryland where it is the official state sport.
We have already made an initial approach to the International Olympic Committee and the Federation Equestre Internationale (who are recognised by the IOC) as a first step on jousting's road to the Olympics
See a joust this summer
As you won't be able to see jousting in action at Rio, instead watch it first hand at a series of summer jousting events at our sites across England including Framlingham Castle in Suffolk, Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight and Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire.
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