Can vaulting be in the Olympics?

One day a long long time ago, in a galaxy that isn’t that far away from ours, vaulting was an olympic sport. It happened in 1932, it was pretty cool, and probably very different from the vaulting we all know and love today (people probably didn’t use Muse as a freestyle theme or dressed as Albert Einstein).

It’s been sometime since we started thinking about it again. Last year the Olympic Comitee asked what sport the users thought should be included on the competition and vaulters from all around the world took to Facebook to suggest our beautiful sport.

But is that really really REALLY possible?

Is it something we really, really REALLY want?

I mean, with great power comes great responsibilities.

Our new friend Tamara Hermann wrote an analysis of what exactly would mean for our sport to be featured in the olympics and what the rules are. And I decided to transform it into an infographic.

Spoiler alert: Our plan is to deepen this discussion with future interviews so this olympic infographic would be just the start of it. If you are interested in the subject, let us know and give us your opinion. Let’s work together people!

Check it out:

(if the picture doesn’t load right on your computer, please let us know. If you click on it, it will open on a new window and it might help).

For Female disciplines- (3)


Our conclusion:

We still need to grow a little bit more to be a part of the olympics.

But would we really want to be there? That’s the next question we need to answer.


And here is Tamara’s full text:

Criteria for the admission of a sport to the Olympic Programme

The rules of the Olympic Games are written in the Olympic Charter, a document that contains 59 rules that decide about every process concerning the olympic movement. The rule 45 of the charter decides, amongst other documents of the IOC (International Olympic Committee), about the admission of a sport to the Olympic Programme. Before we have a deeper look into this process there is some basic information that needs to be said:

Every sport has to belong to an international federation (IF) to be part of the Olympic Games. The IOC distinguishes strictly the differences between a sport, a discipline and an event. Currently, equestrian sports have three disciplines that are part of the Olympics: Jumping, Dressage and Eventing, and are represented by our friends from FEI.

If vaulting were to be signed up for the olympics it would be a discipline under equestrianism, and male individual, for an example, would be considered an event.

Regarding Equestrian Vaulting Equestrianism would be the sport, and is represented by FEI. If included in the Games, Equestrian Vaulting would be a discipline apart of Jumping and Dressage and Eventing, the male individual competition, for an example,  would be an event.


The IOC defined a core of minimum 28 sports that are part every edition of the Summer Games. This way the Olympic Games should get some continuity so that the athletes can prepare themselves well enough. Additionally the number of athletes was limited to 10,500 and the number of events to 310, so that the Games don’t last too long.
As said before, the rule 45 of the Olympic Charter state the process that has to be followed for the admission of a sport. After every distribution of the Olympic Games the Olympic Programme Commission meets for a review. This commission discusses the programme with all its disciplines and events. Afterwards they send their recommendations to the IOC Executive Board and also to the IOC Session. The IOC Session has to decide about the new venue of the Games and also if there any new sport should be addedt. The IOC Executive Board decides at least three years before the Games which disciplines or events are added to the Olympic Programme.

A sport or discipline can only be added as long as the Olympic Charter and the World Anti-Doping Code are followed. In principle a male sport has to be spread in 75 countries on four continents while a female sport only has to be done in 40 countries on three continents. Since 1991 only sports that are either female sports or female and male sports are added to the Olympic Programme. At the Olympic Games in London 2012 every sport featured female contestants for the first time in history.
Additionally the IF has to fill out a list with various criteria with the title, Evaluation Criteria for Sports and Disciplines’’. On this lists facts such as the number of world championships are gathered. The IOC Executive Board then decides if the basic conditions are fulfilled and therefore a admission to the Olympic Programme is possible.
Now as there aren’t many communicated guidelines it is only possible too look if the four communicated criterias are fulfilled. As Equestrian Vaulting belongs to the FEI it automatically follows the Olympic Charter and World Anti-Doping Code. According to FEI statistics, vaulting is spread in 40 countries on 5 continents. But as never women of 40 different countries took part in international championships the criteria for a female sport isn’t fulfilled and the criteria for a male sport is apparently fulfilled neither. Anyway the IOC has to have other motives for or against the admission of a sport even if they do not communicate them.
I can only imagine that money could play a major role in the decision. As Equestrian Vaulting is not a discipline that you can make lots of money from, the admission would not be that favored. Another important point regarding the favors of the admission of vaulting to the Olympic Programme is that only 200 horses are allowed to the Olympic Games. One can think that maybe even if Vaulting fulfilled all the set criteria the FEI did not want to suggest vaulting for an admission because one can make more money with the other equestrian sports such as jumping.

And also it would be possible that the other equestrian sports would not want to give away from their contingent. (These are only assumptions that are not proofed whereas the process for an admission of a Sport comes from sources of the IOC).


In time: The image featured on the infographic was taken by Arjen van der Spek and FEI’s logo is under disclosure.


I am a 27 years old psychologist from Brazil, although I have graduated in psychology I work with media and communications, with a focus on data analysis. I am currently heading towards a master's degree at the London School of Economics (LSE). I am not vaulting anymore, but I did for over 10 years. As it very often happens in our sport, I never really left, I taught at a social project for a few years and have been working on VN since 2014.