I was in the media contingent at the World Equestrian Games(WEG) in Tryon last September. I did not know it at the time but it looks like that will be the last WEG.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has announced that there will not be a World Equestrian Games, hosting all seven disciplines, in 2022. This means that the FEI World WEG Tryon 2018 could be the last time a WEG takes place. The FEI has called for bids to host individual championships. For the equestrian disciplines of Jumping, Dressage and Eventing it is crucial to have championships as they will serve as qualifiers for the Olympics in Paris 2024.
So why did this happen? Several reasons: the exorbitant cost, the problems of weather potentially causing cancellation of some events, and immense difficulty of organizing such a multifaceted set of competitions.
No country or venue has offered a realistic bid to host the 2022 WEG.
I feel certain that there will be championships in 2022 that will be held for the seven disciplines and some will be combined. Dressage and para-dressage can easily combine . Perhaps jumping and eventing can also combine. I think that individual championships or championships with two or three disciplines that can compete in the same venue is more realistic and bids to host them will come in.
But is there a reluctance to put in bids for the big championships? Just recently the city of Calgary held a vote and the citizens rejected a proposal to host the winter Olympics in 2026. The cost is too high was the main reason given. The IOC has recently seen eight cities all drop out of the bid process due to referendum. So they were not surprised to see Calgary’s decision.They know that cost overruns and the perception that the IOC is corrupt loom large in the minds of the voters who view the IOC as a somewhat dubious organization. Toronto, after the success hosting the Pan American Games still decided not to put in a bid for a summer Olympics.
What does this mean for the future of the Olympics? The Olympics are very popular the world over and millions of people watch and read and listen to the competitions. Popularity is not the problem. The cost of building venues, organizing and running the Olympics is huge. There seems to be a perception that the cost outweighs the benefits.
I would be very sad to see the end of the Olympics and I would hope that the problems of cost, corruption, and doping scandals that have plagued the Olympics can be set right. Perhaps countries could hold events at different locations and not all in one city.In 2008 the Beijing Olympics did not have the facilities for the equestrian events so they were held in Hong Kong where the racetrack had air conditioned stabling and an equine veterinary hospital.
For all athletes it is the dream to compete for your nation in the Olympics. I think it is important to keep those dreams alive. What do you think? How do you think the Olympic future can be guaranteed? Let me know in comments below.