A reduced format for the three-day equestrian
event was approved Tuesday by the International Olympic Committee
The board accepted proposals from the International Equestrian
Federation to cut part of the cross-country program from the event
for the 2004 Athens Olympics.
The federation suggested the change because it was "deeply
concerned" by a report from an IOC commission recommending that
three-day events be dropped completely from the Olympics starting
with the 2008 Beijing Games.
The program commission said the event was too expensive, placing
too many demands on the Games' organizers because of the space
required for the course.
The IOC said the changes made for Athens do not necessarily mean
the event has been saved for Beijing. The issue will be addressed
at an IOC board meeting in February.
Under the reduced format, the dressage and jumping disciplines
will be maintained, but the steeplechase, road and track elements
of the cross-country discipline will be eliminated. Only the
cross-country obstacle course will be kept in place.
IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said the changes would reduce by
half the number of acres required for the three-day eventing
course. The overall length of the course also will be cut from the
current 15.6 miles to 3.1 miles. The number of officials needed
will be reduced by 70 percent.
Three-day eventing has several high-profile defenders, including
Britain's Princess Anne, who competed for her country in the event
at the 1976 Montreal Games. She is one of Britain's two delegates
on the IOC.
-- Associated Press