Think you’ve had joust about enough Olympics talk? That might be because you haven’t opened your mind to the exciting possibility that come 2020, Jousting could be on the Olympic bill in Tokyo. We’ve trawled the internet, spoken to English Heritage, and studied some (many) Game of Thrones gifs to bring you the most comprehensive guide around, as to why jousting could be TV gold waiting to happen.
You may have seen the news recently that jousting is being championed as the next big Olympic sport. Now we know that jousting isn’t exactly the most mainstream sporting activity. The sport once only played by Kings and noble knights, might not immediately make you think of the Olympics, but you’d be surprised how relevant it is. And you’ve got to admit, ‘Olympic Jousting’ has a bit of a ring to it…
Being a professional jouster is no canter through the park (sorry!). It requires many of the skills professional Olympians have displayed over the past few weeks in Rio.
Why does jousting deserve to be an Olympic sport?
Jousting isn’t just galloping at someone who is holding a big stick, while you hold a big stick back at them. There’s a huge amount of skill involved, from both the horse and the knight on its back. They both require finely tuned, athletic, equestrian and agility skills, in order to hit their target powerfully and accurately. Not to mention that unlike any other Olympian, a jouster needs to perform all their skills perfectly, while encased in a heavy suit of armour!
Olympic sport isn’t just about the athleticism that’s put on show. A big part of it is the entertainment and drama present in the competition. So what could be more scintillating than watching two knights face off against each over on the jousting field? We’ve all seen how exciting horse-mounted battles can be in shows like Game of Thrones, and that’s just TV!
We’re pretty sure jousting would bring an unexpected breath of fresh air to the Olympics. Not only that, but it would help shine a light on a sport that doesn’t get the attention and praise it deserves. With any luck by the time the 2020, or 2024 Olympic games come around, we’ll be getting ready to cheer on not just the athletes from our country, but our knights as well!
Are there any down-sides?
When the UnCOVered team sat down to think about jousting, we had one major concern: animal welfare. So we thought we’d speak to English Heritage, who are putting this campaign together, about the horses this ancient sport relies on.
UnCovered: Hello, we wanted to express our support for the push to get jousting officially included in future Olympic games. However, we just wanted to ask about how dangerous jousting might be for the horses involved?
English Heritage: English Heritage’s priority is always the safety and wellbeing of our visitors […] including any animals participating in the programme.
English Heritage will only work with reputable suppliers for our events […].
All horses used by English Heritage are looked after by professional trainers and have 5* rated health care, as well as full medical insurance. The horses are trained on a regular basis […] (by) experienced jousters. Our supplier has been a professional equestrian for over 20 years and during that time no horse has suffered a jousting injury.
[…] The lance is aimed well above the horse’s head, and the high tilt rail is designed to ensure that the lowest point is the rider’s shield. […] We only use highly trained knights, and the coronels at the tip of our weakened balsa wood lances are made of rubber. Safety checks are done throughout the event […] and the threat posed to horses through jousting events is minimal and significantly less likely to cause injury than other popular equestrian sports such as show jumping […].
And that informative conversation, pretty much answered our questions, and it’s great to know they ‘only use highly trained knights’!
If you haven’t made your mind up yet, you can be a joust spectator yourself this bank holiday weekend. Witness The Siege of Kenilworth Castle tomorrow (28th) or Monday, or the ‘Rise of the Kingmaker’ joust at Warwick Castle, until September 4th.
Let us know if you agree with us, or if you just think we’re nuts, you might be right!