The International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has secretly met this week for a historical vote: removing show jumping from the competition and substituting it for cycling.
UPDATE: UIPM has officially announced show jumping will be changed for cycling after the Paris 2024 (for Los Angeles 2028) Games. Access the report here.
Modern Pentathlon could remove the equestrian sport for cycling so the Olympic status can be kept. The decision comes after controversy during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. During the competition, there is video footage that showed Germany Team Coach Kim Raisner appearing to strike a horse, Saint Boy, for refusing to jump. This is a violation of the UIPM.
The disciplinary panel decided Kim Raisner has an official warning and has ordered Ms Raisner to attend a coach education seminar. The athlete competing, Annika Schleu, was found not guilty and charges have not been pressed against her.
The Modern Pentathlon competition was included in the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. The objective of modern pentathlon is to test athletes on all-round sporting abilities.
According to a story, in the 19th century a young French cavalry officer had to deliver a message on horseback. To complete the mission, he rode, fought with a sword, swam, shot and ran. These are now the five disciplines in modern pentathlon.
Baron de Coubertin was an admirer of the pentathlon during the ancient Olympic Games. This encouraged him to propose a similar competition during the modern Games. The women’s event was introduced in 2000.
However, if this change is made official, horse riding will no longer be part of the Olympic discipline.
The decision will be made after the extremely controversial circumstances that occurred during the Tokyo Olympics. Besides German Kim Raisner punched Saint Boy, an action that gave her a black card and immediate expulsion from the Games and is bad on its own, the whole leg of the female competition was catastrophic.
During the show jumping phase riders are given a horse randomly 20 minutes before. This means there is no previous training and bonding between rider and horse.
This caused tension during the female competition, as Annika Schleu was not able to calm down Saint Boy who refused to jump. Other athletes also faced refusals and some fell from their horses. Animal associations like PETA have urged to remove this test completely in the Olympic Games as it witnesses cruelty to animals.
It is expected the UIPM executive board (EB) will announce officially this week that from the Los Ángeles 2028 Olympic Games edition onwards show jumping will be removed and replaced by cycling. This would mean show jumping will still be included in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Do you think this is the best decision or could the UIPM Competition rules change to accommodate equestrianism? On HorseTV we want to hear your opinion: write us a comment on our social media. We are on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter!