At least one good thing has come out of the Annika Schleu horror show – horseback riding will no longer be part of the Modern Pentathlon in the Olympics. Cycling will be added to the pentathlon instead.
The International Modern Pentathlon Union will confirm this decision on Thursday, which will be the biggest modern makeover of modern pentathlon. The ancient pentathlon included running, jumping, spear-throwing, discus and wrestling. The modern version of this Olympic event, includes pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running. Mind you, though, the change might take place only AFTER the Paris Olympics in 2024.
For those who don’t remember the Tokyo fiasco, here’s a video showing what happened. Annika Schleu was the lead at this point, set to win the gold medal. However, when she mounted the horse, it was clear in an instant that the gold medal wasn’t going her way.
In this hard-to-watch video, Annika Schleu loses her composure from the get-go. One can only assume she thought the horse knows that and will magically yield to her wishes. The horse, Saint Boy, was already ridden by another competitor, who treated him badly. He was stressed and tired. His tack was hurting him. Perhaps he was scared. And then comes Annika Schleu, all hysterical, racing against the clock, and starts whipping and kicking him, although it’s obvious he’s not responding to any of these “aids”. Her coach only exacerbates the problem by encouraging Annika to hit the horse, and she even punches him in an effort to get him going.
This despicable display of shameful behavior sparked a debated in the equestrian community and the majority of horse people were adamant – this “sport” has to stop. The decision to swap showjumping with cycling was made in hopes that the modern pentathlon could preserve its status as an Olympic sport and probably in an effort to save some of its image.
This is wonderful news, which goes to show that proper public reaction, social media and lots of horse love can truly make a difference.
About me: An amateur equestrian. Owned by a horse named Talo. During 2020, Talo fell on me and I broke my pelvis and my ankle. I wrote a book about my healing journey and about going back to riding my horse. Here it is.