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Modern Pentathlon
  • Coubertin ‘would have appreciated a change that embodies the spirit of Pentathlon’
  • Statement comes from descendants of Modern Pentathlon’s founder
  • Approval for ‘adaptation’ comes in week of first virtual UIPM Congress

The family of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of Modern Pentathlon, has urged the global UIPM Sports community to remain committed to innovation and continue to embrace change.

In response to the ongoing 5th Discipline consultation process, launched by the UIPM Executive Board to assess new disciplines that might replace Riding after the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the Association Familiale Pierre de Coubertin wrote a statement expressing strong support for the historic process.

Riding has been part of the fabric of Modern Pentathlon ever since the Baron introduced his vision at the Stockholm 1912 Olympics for a multi-discipline sport that would test an athlete’s “moral qualities as much as his physical resources and skills, producing thereby the ideal, complete athlete”.

The format of Modern Pentathlon, however, has been subject to an ever-accelerating evolution in the past two decades, and the difficult decision to consider alternatives to Riding was made in the interest of ensuring the sport remains as safe, sustainable, affordable and accessible to the widest possible global audience.

The Paris-based Association Familiale, which is led by Alexandra Navacelle de Coubertin as President, encouraged the UIPM Sports community – which will gather for its first virtual Congress on November 27/28 – to believe that Pierre de Coubertin would have “appreciated a change towards a discipline that embodies the spirit of Pentathlon and modernises the sport”.


The family’s statement reads as follows:

“In one of his writings, Coubertin said that if he had to redo what he did 100 years later he would probably do it very differently. Coubertin understood that adaptation was a part of staying relevant with the spirit of the times.

“We all agree that since its introduction in 1912 at the Stockholm Olympic Games, Modern Pentathlon has brilliantly adapted to modern times. For example, creative changes such as replacing pistol with the Laser Run.

“We believe that what matters most is the spirit and intention behind the unique sport of Pentathlon. Coubertin saw in this event a veritable consecration of the complete athlete that he called ‘a first-rate educational character’.

“If today, the horse riding discipline is called to go, we believe Coubertin would appreciate a change towards a discipline that embodies the spirit of Pentathlon and modernises the sport.”

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