Sumo scare? Riders say horses might be spooked by statue

Japan 2020

Britain’s Harry Charles, riding Romeo 88, competes during the equestrian jumping individual qualifying at Equestrian Park in Tokyo at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

KAMIYOGA, Japan (AP) — Riders say that a life-sized sumo wrestler positioned next to an obstacle on the Olympic equestrian course may have distracted several horses in qualifying for the individual jumping final.

A few pairings pulled up short of the barrier, accumulating enough penalty points to prevent entry into Wednesday’s finals.

The statue is positioned to the left of a jump placed in the corner of the arena.

Hunched over and seemingly ready to attack, the wrestler is facing away from approaching riders, meaning that when they complete a sharp turn to take on the jump, the first thing horse and human see is the wedgie created by the wrestler’s mawashi.

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