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The Olympics could not have gone worse for this athlete

Count the horses among the neigh sayers to a figure at the 2020 Olympics.

A realistic-looking sumo wrestler statue has caught the eye of everyone at Equestrian Park in Tokyo – especially the horses competing.

The statue stands just to the left of the 10th obstacle during equestrian events, which is placed in the corner of the arena. And when the riders make the sharp turn, the horses see the statue in full view.

But the horses aren’t necessarily fans of the figure as the statue almost appears ready to pounce on them.

It’s caused a flurry of mistakes from the rattled horses.

“As you come around, you see a big guy’s [butt],” British rider Harry Charles said. He added that he also noticed “four or five horses really taking a spook to that.”

The course is decorated with a plethora of Japanese items, including colorful cherry blossoms surrounding the area. Many riders said the blossoms were also part of the problem with their horses, but have pointed to the sumo statue wreaking the most havoc.

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Those fears have actually reflected in some of the results. A few of the horses pulled up short of the barrier, leading to penalty points. In turn, those racers failed to qualify for the final round Wednesday.

Many riders, including Israel’s Teddy Vlock, eventually slowed their horses down on the turn so they would not be as anxious around the statue.

“It is very realistic,” Vlock said. “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.”

But Vlock’s strategy could only do so much as he came in 34th in the 73-horse field. His problems came from other penalties but not from the 10th obstacle.

On the flip side, Darragh Kenny of Ireland, who took the same approach as Vlock, came in second with a time of 82.01.

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