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‘Modern Pentathlon needs to be more dynamic, more inclusive, more current’ – statement by Elodie Clouvel (FRA)

Modern Pentathlon

One of Modern Pentathlon’s most decorated and most respected athletes has written an extensive statement in support of UIPM’s New Pentathlon Discipline process.

Elodie Clouvel of France, the Rio 2016 silver medallist and current world No.3 who won gold at the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final, took time out of her preparations for a home Olympics in Paris in 2024 to talk to media about the future direction of the sport.

In her personal statement, she wrote:


Pierre de Coubertin created the modern pentathlon in order to represent the most complete athlete possible of his time.

In 1900, it was a prerequisite to be able to ride a horse as it was the way to fight on battlegrounds and it was used as a means of transportation.

Pierre de Coubertin said that those who could get on a horse and ride to the battleground would be the most complete soldier.

Today, in 2022, all of this is over. We don't go to battlegrounds on a horse, we don't go around places on a horse. Therefore, it is absolutely normal that the horse should go back to its field.

I am deeply convinced that Modern Pentathlon needs to evolve and live with its time, for the greater good.

The Olympic Games of today are inclusive, modern and aimed at youths, and the introduction of the Obstacle Discipline is the consequence of that.

It is selfish to say that we must keep riding [in Modern Pentathlon], as I heard from some people who are resistant to change, because it would cut us off from the very essence of the founder of our sport, Pierre de Coubertin, who created the Modern Olympic Games and not the Ancient Games.

I understand that time was needed for us athletes to understand this evolution, but to refuse change at all costs is selfish. I grew up and got involved in sport for this generosity in effort.

I am talking about 'evolution' and not 'change' because we are looking at a new discipline which will be more dynamic, more inclusive, more current. All of that summarises the DNA of our sport: the Modern Pentathlon.

Today, we are living the introduction of the Obstacle Discipline but I would love to able to project myself in 50 years from now to see what new abilities society will require us to have.

Maybe to be able to fly a drone will be a required skill in tomorrow's world, and perhaps one of our disciplines will evolve again. But we're not there yet because we are still living in the present.

Our sport is following a natural life process in transforming itself progressively, just as the cells of the human body are in perpetual evolution and those that stay still end up dying.

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