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 (opens in new tab) 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. 

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