Modern pentathlon’s new obstacle discipline includes monkey bars, tsunami wall

Modern Pentathlon - Olympics: Day 15
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Monkey bars and a tsunami wall could be coming to the Olympics.

Details for the new obstacle discipline of modern pentathlon were announced Tuesday.

The sport’s international governing body said last year that the horse riding discipline had to be removed to boost the chances of keeping modern pentathlon’s place in the Olympics beyond 2024.

The obstacle discipline, chosen from among 60 proposals, will replace horse riding in the Olympic modern pentathlon lineup starting with the 2028 Los Angeles Games, pending approval at a November congress. Star athletes have voiced disapproval, and modern pentathlon still must be added to the LA Olympic program.

The discipline that will debut with a test event June 27-28 in Turkey includes two to four athletes racing each other over a course up to 100 meters long with up to 10 obstacles. The list of obstacles in play:

Ascending steps
Rope swing
1.5-meter wall
Monkey bars
Offset steps
0.5-meter low crawl
Rings rig
Under-over-under-over
Wheels rig
Balance beam
Angled ladders
Finish ‘Tsunami’ curved wall

Modern pentathlon’s governing body called it “the biggest shakeup” since the sport made its Olympic debut in 1912.

Athletes will “run, walk, climb, crawl, slither, scramble or otherwise propel themselves to the finish line of a bespoke course,” according to a press release.

Modern pentathlon will be held at the 2024 Paris Games with horse riding, but it is not currently on the 2028 Los Angeles program. It could still be added for 2028.

“They must demonstrate a significant reduction in cost and complexity and improvements across the areas for safety, accessibility, universality, appeal for youth and general public,” IOC President Thomas Bach said in December.

It has been reported that horse riding was encouraged to be replaced after an incident of horse abuse at the Tokyo Olympics — a German coach hit a horse that refused to jump — but Bach did not mention that in his public comments about the event’s Olympic future.

Brits Joe Choong and Kate French, who won the gold medals in Tokyo, are among the modern pentathletes who have spoken out against the removal of horse riding.

The other modern pentathlon events are fencing, swimming and a combined running and shooting event. Modern pentathlon was created by the founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, and has roots in the duties required of a soldier from the late 19th century.

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Joel Embiid gains U.S. citizenship, mum on Olympic nationality

Joel Embiid
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Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid said he is now a U.S. citizen and it’s way too early to think about what nation he would represent at the Olympics.

“I just want to be healthy and win a championship and go from there,” he said, according to The Associated Press.

Embiid, 28, was born in Cameroon and has never competed in a major international tournament. In July, he gained French nationality, a step toward being able to represent that nation at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

In the spring, French media reported that Embiid started the process to become eligible to represent France in international basketball, quoting national team general manager Boris Diaw.

Embiid was second in NBA MVP voting this season behind Serbian Nikola Jokic. He was the All-NBA second team center.

What nation Embiid represents could have a major impact on the Paris Games.

In Tokyo, a French team led by another center, Rudy Gobert, handed the U.S. its first Olympic defeat since 2004. That was in group play. The Americans then beat the French in the gold-medal game 87-82.

That France team had five NBA players to the U.S.’ 12: Nicolas BatumEvan FournierTimothe Luwawu-CabarrotFrank Ntilikina and Gobert.

Anthony Davis, who skipped the Tokyo Olympics, is the lone U.S. center to make an All-NBA team in the last five seasons. In that time, Embiid made four All-NBA second teams and Gobert made three All-NBA third teams.

No Olympic team other than the U.S. has ever had two reigning All-NBA players on its roster.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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LA 2028, Delta unveil first-of-its-kind emblems for Olympics, Paralympics

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Emblems for the 2028 Los Angeles Games that include logos of Delta Air Lines is the first integration of its kind in Olympic and Paralympic history.

Organizers released the latest set of emblems for the LA 2028 Olympics and Paralympics on Thursday, each with a Delta symbol occupying the “A” spot in LA 28.

Two years ago, the LA 2028 logo concept was unveiled with an ever-changing “A” that allowed for infinite possibilities. Many athletes already created their own logos, as has NBC.

“You can make your own,” LA28 chairperson Casey Wasserman said in 2020. “There’s not one way to represent Los Angeles, and there is strength in our diverse cultures. We have to represent the creativity and imagination of Los Angeles, the diversity of our community and the big dreams the Olympic and Paralympic Games provide.”

Also in 2020, Delta was announced as LA 2028’s inaugural founding partner. Becoming the first partner to have an integrated LA 2028 emblem was “extremely important for us,” said Emmakate Young, Delta’s managing director, brand marketing and sponsorships.

“It is a symbol of our partnership with LA, our commitment to the people there, as well as those who come through LA, and a commitment to the Olympics,” she said.

The ever-changing emblem succeeds an angelic bid logo unveiled in February 2016 when the city was going for the 2024 Games, along with the slogan, “Follow the Sun.” In July 2017, the IOC made a historic double awarding of the Olympics and Paralympics — to Paris for 2024 and Los Angeles for 2028.

The U.S. will host its first Olympics and Paralympics since 2002 (and first Summer Games since 1996), ending its longest drought between hosting the Games since the 28-year gap between 1932 and 1960.

Delta began an eight-year Olympic partnership in 2021, becoming the official airline of Team USA and the 2028 Los Angeles Games.

Athletes flew to this year’s Winter Games in Beijing on chartered Delta flights and will do so for every Games through at least 2028.

Previously, Delta sponsored the last two Olympics held in the U.S. — the 1996 Atlanta Games and the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

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