While everyone was a bit shocked that modern pentathlon, which was expected to be dropped from the 2020 Olympic schedule during a vote Tuesday, was instead pardoned by the IOC in exchange for wrestling, the head of the MP’s governing body celebrated victory.
“We have promised things and we have delivered,” UIPM President Klaus Schormann told the AP after Tuesday’s decision. “That gives me a great feeling. It also gives me new energy to develop our sport further and never give up.”
Modern pentathlon probably got a boost in the IOC vote because it was effectively created by the father of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, for the 1912 Games in Stockholm. Though, as it’s a sport that combines five disciplines necessary to be a nineteenth century cavalry soldier – running, shooting, swimming, fencing, and horseback riding – on its face it seems a little outdated.
But the UIPM has actually attempted to modernize the modern pentathlon recently, including combining the running and shooting into a single event similar to the Winter biathlon.
The sport no doubt also got a boost from the hard work and back room politics of UIPM vice president Juan Antonio Samaranch Jr., who happens to be the son of a former IOC president.
“We were considered weak in some of the scores in the program commission report but strong in others,” Samaranch told the AP. “We played our cards to the best of our ability and stressed the positives. Tradition is one of our strongest assets, but we are also a multi-sport discipline that produces very complete people.”