The best-known of the Olympic equestrian disciplines, jumping has its root in fox hunting and was accepted to the Olympic Games in 1912 in Stockholm, with women first appearing at the Games in 1956.
In Olympic jumping competitions, horse and rider are required to complete a course of 10 to 13 jumps, the objective of which is to test the couple's skill, accuracy and training. The aim is always to jump the course in the designed sequence, with all the obstacles numbered, and make as few mistakes as possible. If any part of an obstacle is knocked down or if the horse refuses a jump,the rider will incur a penalty of four points. A second refusal or any fall entails elimination. The competitor just needs to clear the obstacles. Style is not considered and does not affect the scoring.
The jumping discipline of the Beijing Olympics, due to start on Friday evening, comprises two separate competitions respectively for teams and individuals.
The individual qualifiers comprise three rounds, with Round A coming first on Friday. This round decides the starting order of Round 1 of the team competitions.
The team competitions comprise two rounds, with Round 1 open to all competitors. The eight best-placed teams after Round 1 move on to team Round 2. The team with the lowest total penalties of its three best placed competitors over Rounds 1 and 2 is the winner.
The two rounds of team competitions also serve as Rounds B and C of the individual qualifiers. Round B is open to all competitors,with the 50 best-placed surviving riders moving on to Round C. The 35 best riders, based on the sum penalties over qualifiers, make it to the first round of the individual final.
The individual final competitions also comprise Rounds A and B,with the 35 best from individual qualifiers allowed in Round A. Then the 20 best-placed riders, in turn, move on to individual final Round B. The rider with the lowest sum penalty points from Rounds A and B of individual final will be the winner of individual gold.
There are rest days between the competitions and possible jump-offs in case of a tie. Occasionally the time incurred in the jump-off helps decide the ranking.
(Xinhua News Agency August 15, 2008)