Cycling could replace horse riding in Modern Pentathlon after Tokyo Olympics scandal, says report

The decision was made in a secret vote when the sport was put in the spotlight after a German coach punched a horse

Modern Pentathlon at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Modern Pentathlon could scrap horse riding as a discipline in the sport with cycling replacing it so Olympic status can be kept.

The sport came under scrutiny when a German coach punched a horse after it has refused to jump a fence. 

Since then, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne’s (UIPM) executive board has secretly decided that after 109 years, the sport of horse jumping will be replaced with cycling, The Guardian reports. 

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The decision has not yet been officially announced, however, the paper reported that the UIPM said: "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."

Despite this, countries have been speaking out against the potential, change saying it changes the sport entirely. While the sport isn't a household name it has been part of the Olympic Games since 1912 when it was invented by Pierre de Coubertin.

It was originally over five days but in more recent times has taken place over the same day with competitors being tested in cross-country running, swimming, fencing, pistol shooting and, of course, showjumping.

It is not yet known what discipline of cycling will be used and the format if it does become part of the sport. Further details are set to be announced soon with cycling expected to be the new fifth element of the event.

The reason for the change seemingly stems from the backlash the sport received following the scenes of the coach of German competitor Annika Schleu, punching a horse who refused to jump. The coach, Kim Raisner, was subsequently thrown out of the Games. The incident took place after Schleu, who was in gold medal position, lost her chance of victory when the horse she was riding, Saint Boy, refused to jump one of the gates. That led to Schleu slipping out of the medals and dropping to finish in 31st position.

Team GB won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in both the men's and women's Modern Pentathlon with Joe Choong and Kate French coming out on top. 

Tim Bonville-Ginn
Tim Bonville-Ginn

Hi, I'm one of Cycling Weekly's content writers for the web team responsible for writing stories on racing, tech, updating evergreen pages as well as the weekly email newsletter. Proud Yorkshireman from the UK's answer to Flanders, Calderdale, go check out the cobbled climbs!


I started watching cycling back in 2010, before all the hype around London 2012 and Bradley Wiggins at the Tour de France. In fact, it was Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck's battle in the fog up the Tourmalet on stage 17 of the Tour de France.


It took me a few more years to get into the journalism side of things, but I had a good idea I wanted to get into cycling journalism by the end of year nine at school and started doing voluntary work soon after. This got me a chance to go to the London Six Days, Tour de Yorkshire and the Tour of Britain to name a few before eventually joining Eurosport's online team while I was at uni, where I studied journalism. Eurosport gave me the opportunity to work at the world championships in Harrogate back in the awful weather.


After various bar jobs, I managed to get my way into Cycling Weekly in late February of 2020 where I mostly write about racing and everything around that as it's what I specialise in but don't be surprised to see my name on other news stories.


When not writing stories for the site, I don't really switch off my cycling side as I watch every race that is televised as well as being a rider myself and a regular user of the game Pro Cycling Manager. Maybe too regular.


My bike is a well used Specialized Tarmac SL4 when out on my local roads back in West Yorkshire as well as in northern Hampshire with the hills and mountains being my preferred terrain.