Olympic Games | The Guardian
It’s a sport originally conceived by the founder of the modern Olympics to help cavalry riders develop the skills they need to survive behind enemy lines. But after 109 years, the governing body of modern pentathlon has secretly voted to end riding and replace it with cycling, the Guardian has revealed.
Multiple sources said the decision was made in recent days by the board of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne and was accelerated by the harrowing scenes at the Tokyo Olympics when a horse was hit by a German trainer after it refused jumping a fence.
These images made headlines around the world, and the UIPM is believed to have acted to maintain its status at the Olympics ahead of the 2024 Paris Games.
Although the decision has not yet been officially announced, it is already facing a backlash from some countries who believe that the loss of equestrianism is fundamentally changing the sport. The modern pentathlon has been a core Olympic event since 1912 when it was invented by Pierre de Coubertin – and although it has since grown from a five-day event to a lonely day, it has always had the athletes in fencing, swimming, jumping and pistol shooting Put to the test, and cross-country skiing.
The UIPM refused to deny the story when confronted by the Guardian, and a spokesman said, “I can’t give you any information right now.”
However, the organization later issued a statement: “As part of the UIPM’s commitment to maintaining a strong, dynamic profile for the modern pentathlon, a series of strategic meetings will be held. These meetings will include an upcoming call with national associations later this week. The results of these meetings will be published in a press release on November 4th. “
Former British modern pentathlete Kate Allenby, who won bronze for Team GB at the Sydney Olympics, told the Guardian that any move to replace horse riding would be a “disaster” for the sport. “It needs to be talked about because it’s not a modern pentathlon unless it’s about riding,” she said.
However, another British Olympian Greg Whyte, who also won a silver medal in 1994, said he could understand the change. “I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing,” he said. “The fencing part used to take 14 hours, while in Paris the whole thing lasted only 90 minutes. All sports are evolving, and no sport is immune to change in the modern age of television. “
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The UIPM is said to have acted after the sport was heavily criticized in Tokyo. German participant Annika Schleu, who had been on the gold medal before jumping, was seen crying after her ride, Saint Boy, when she refused to jump over the obstacles.
German coach Kim Raisner, seen beating Saint Boy, was sent home from Tokyo and the UIPM promised to do a full review and discipline Raisner.
Britain won the men’s and women’s modern pentathlon events at the Tokyo 2020 Games courtesy of Joe Choong and Kate French.