Right now, the whole world is gearing up to watch Equestrian events taking place in Greenwich Park for the 2012 London Olympics. The superstar of this year are the horse and human athlete team of Whisper and 71-year old Hiroshi Hoketsu. Filmed in one of the breathtaking Royal Parks of London, is there a reason that the Equestrian gold medals are limited to dressage, eventing, and jumping? After all, with events like the Breeders’ Cup and the Kentucky Derby, doesn’t it seem like horse racing at the Olympics would make sense?
Despite being a part of Olympic history, there are several reasons that show the likelihood of horse racing becoming an Olympic event are slim.
When horse racing was Olympic
Although it is restricted today, during the first Olympic Games, there was always participation from racing horses. When the Greek Olympics of 648 BC took place, there were chariot drivers and mounted horse races. Like today, horse racing at that time was closely connected to gambling. Sadly, horse racing was canceled from the ancient Olympics due to fierce gambling.
This situation boiled up over what is now known as the Nika Riots. An estimated 40,000 people may have been killed in the 531 BC uproar that burned half of Constantinople. Since this riot began over a chariot race, Rome and Greece subsequently decided horse racing related Olympic events could result in catastrophe.