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Cycling could replace show jumping in modern pentathlon at Olympic Games

CHOFU JAPAN AUGUST 06 Annika Schleu of Team Germany fails a jump during the Riding Show Jumping of the Womens Modern Pentathlon on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Tokyo Stadium on August 06 2021 in Chofu Japan Photo by Dan MullanGetty Images
Annika Schleu (Germany) fails a jump during the Show Jumping in the Women's Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2021 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Cycling could replace the show jumping event that is part of the modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games. According to a report in The Guardian, Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) has voted to remove show jumping, a decision that was accelerated after a horse was punched by a coach at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

Images and video footage show German coach, Kim Raisner, striking the horse, Saint Boy, after it did not jump a fence on course during the show jumping event of the modern pentathlon where rider Annika Schleu was in a bid for a gold medal. Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the UIPM competition rules (Rule 4.6.8).

Raisner was excluded from the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and a UIPM Disciplinary Panel review completed in September issued an official reprimand and a warning that any repeat of her behaviour could, among other things, result in the removal of her permission to coach at UIPM-sanctioned competitions.

In addition the statement issued after the review said: “The Panel encourages the newly empowered UIPM Riding Working Group to labour diligently towards modifying our rules in the new competition format for Paris 2024 to safeguard and ensure the health, safety and humane treatment of our animals and athletes.”

The Guardian article said that the decision to remove horse riding from the modern pentathlon had not been officially announced, however, the UIPM is aiming to preserve its status in the Olympics in the lead-up to the Paris Olympics in 2024 by replacing it with cycling. There was, however, no further detail on what type of cycling competition it would involve.

Modern pentathlon has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912, and was invented by Pierre de Coubertin. It comprises five events; fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, pistol shooting and cross-country running. 

"As part of UIPM’s commitment to maintaining a strong, dynamic profile for modern pentathlon, a series of strategic meetings are being held. These meetings will include an upcoming call with national federations later this week. The outcome of these meetings will be detailed in a press release to be published on 4 November," the UIPM said in a press release cited by The Guardian.

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Kirsten Frattini is an honours graduate of Kinesiology and Health Science from York University in Toronto, Canada. She has been involved in bike racing from the grassroots level to professional cycling's WorldTour. She has worked in both print and digital publishing, and started with Cyclingnews as a North American Correspondent in 2006. Moving into a Production Editor's role in 2014, she produces and publishes international race coverage for all cycling disciplines, edits news and writes features. Currently the Women's Editor at Cyclingnews, Kirsten coordinates global coverage of races, news, features and podcasts about women's professional cycling.