Analysis of Tokyo 2020 Olympic modern pentathlon equestrian jumping results

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Modern Pentathlon (MP) includes an equestrian Jumping discipline, with horses drawn blindly by unfamiliar riders. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games, concerns regarding inadequate horsemanship generated adverse publicity for MP. Conventional stadium Jumping in Tokyo provided an opportunity for comparison of the two closest Olympic equestrian Jumping disciplines. The objectives of this study were to complete an objective analysis of the Tokyo MP riding phases, and to test the hypothesis that MP riding faults in women's and men's Tokyo competitions combined were more frequent than in the Individual Jumping Qualifier (JQ). Types of faults for Tokyo MP (n = 71 riders) and JQ (n = 73 riders) were tabulated from published official results and detailed observation of online videos of each competition. Fault distributions were compared using Chi-square analysis (significance at P < .05). MP riders had more jumping faults (15.4 %) than JQ (7.8 %, P < .0001). Both MP and JQ riders had more faults at oxers (17.1 %, P < .0001 and 9.7 %, P = .0171, respectively) than verticals (14.5 % and 6.2 %). JQ (9.8 %, P = .0093) but not MP (15.7 %, p = .5166) riders had more faults in the second half of the course compared to the first half (5.7 % and 15.0 %, respectively). Double clear rounds (no jumping or time faults) were 4.9 times more likely in JQ (34.2 %) than in MP (6.9 %: P < .0001). Proposed solutions to decrease MP fault frequency include lower maximum fence heights, fewer jumping efforts, and a more liberal re-ride policy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105068
JournalJournal of Equine Veterinary Science
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Equestrian
  • Equine welfare
  • Horse
  • Jumping
  • Riding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Equine


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