Pentathlon to replace riding after horse-punching incident at Tokyo Olympics

·2-min read

The pentathlon will have a different look during the 2028 Olympics. The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) said Thursday it will replace riding with a different event for the 2028 games.

The UIPM confirmed the news in a letter to athletes. The decision to replace riding came after the UIPM executive board held multiple meetings to discuss the issue following the Tokyo Olympics. 

The UIPM did not mention the horse-punching incident at the Tokyo Olympics in its letter, but admitted "movement changes fast" within the Olympics, suggesting the punch may have played a role in the UIPM's stance on riding.

First, we know that this information will be surprising and even shocking to you. It is not very long since we made a commitment to review and protect the Riding discipline in the wake of the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. But life within the Olympic movement changes fast. While our sport is confirmed for Paris 2024 with our exciting new format in place (including Riding), Los Angeles 2028 is a different matter and we must be flexible and embrace change once again.

Pentathlon athletes will have a say in what event replaces riding. The UIPM said athletes will be "centrally involved in this consultation." The organization also provided the traits it was looking for in the event that replaces riding. Some of those traits include global accessibility, gender equality and fairness and appeal to younger athletes. 

Horse-punching incident marred Tokyo Olympics

Riding came under fire at the Tokyo Olympics after German coach Kim Raisner was disqualified from the event after hitting an uncooperative horse with her fist. German Olympic team chief Alfons Hoermann acted quickly, disqualifying Raisner over animal safety concerns.

The incident occurred after German rider Annika Schleu was partnered with an uncooperative horse during the event. Raisner encouraged Schleu to "really hit" the horse.

Schleu was unable to finish that leg of the event and was eliminated. 

Annika Schleu of Germany reacts in the riding portion of the women's individual of modern pentathlon at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 6, 2021. (Photo by Dai Tianfang/Xinhua via Getty Images)
Annika Schleu of Germany reacts in the riding portion of the women's individual of modern pentathlon at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 6, 2021. (Photo by Dai Tianfang/Xinhua via Getty Images)
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