Olympics 2021: Equestrian jumpers say horses might spook at life-size sumo wrestler statue

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The equestrian show jumpers have been raising their eyebrows at a life-size statue of a sumo wrestler on the course at the Tokyo Games, with one rider saying they believe the horses might be "taking a spook" at the poised rikishi (wrestler).

The statue at fence No. 10 might have messed up a few show jumpers' hopes of making the final on Wednesday. Housed in the corner of the arena, a sumo tower and rikishi make up one of the Japan-themed fences.

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The Associated Press delved into the subject and found the sumo wrestler had caught the eye of a number of riders. Great Britain's Harry Charles said he "did notice four or five horses taking a spook" at the statue. He added: "As you come around, you see a big guy's [butt]." Ireland's Cian O'Connor said: "There's a lot to look at".

Israel's Teddy Vlock said: "It is very realistic. It does look like a person, and that's a little spooky. You know, horses don't want to see a guy, like, looking intense next to a jump, looking like he's ready to fight you."

Riders also spoke of the cherry blossoms positioned on the other side of the obstacle as another potential reason for the difficulties some riders and horses had found at that corner of the course as they hit rock bottom.

Other fences at the course are inspired by the Tokyo skyline, gold-repaired pottery, the Tanabata festival, kimonos, origami, musical instruments, hairpins and the Nikko mausoleum.