Over a third of under-45s want jousting in the Olympics

Paul HiebertData Journalist
August 01, 2016, 4:26 PM GMT+0

Just over half of Americans under the age of 30 would watch jousting if accepted as an official Olympic sport

With the 2016 Summer Olympic Games about to begin in Rio de Janeiro later this week, British-based charity English Heritage has launched a campaign to make jousting an official Olympic sport. "Today's jouster needs the same level of athleticism and agility, skill and strength as many of the would-be Olympic medal winners heading to Rio this summer," reads the petition. The organization hopes that the Internatinal Olympic Committee will accept the medieval competition in time for the 2020 games in Tokyo.

As outlandish as the idea might seem, a new survey by YouGov Omnibus shows that more Americans under the age of 45 support the push for jousting in the Olympics than oppose it. On the other hand, only 22% of people aged 45-64 support it, while the same is true for 17% of people 65 and older. The rest of the public remains undecided.

Regardless of whether people support jousting as an Olympic sport, a more relevant consideration for the IOC may be whether anyone will actually tune in to watch it. Data from YouGov suggests that around half of people under 45 would — a key demographic for marketers and sponsors.

The survey also reveals that 79% of Americans have never attended a jousting event, where two armored opponents on horseback charge at each other with lances raised. In other words, it's a niche activity that most people have only seen in movies and video games. Evidence suggests, however, that putting it on the Olympic stage would attract a healthy audience composed of young people.

For full poll results and margin of error see here.