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Paris 2024 Olympic Games: Athletes speak out in support of new Modern Pentathlon format

Modern Pentathlon

The current world champion and two other leading pentathletes have registered their support for the new Modern Pentathlon format proposed for introduction at the Olympic Summer Games Paris 2024.

The IOC Programme Commission has made recommendations about the composition of the Paris 2024 sporting programme and the IOC Executive Board will meet to decide the final programme on December 7.

The three athletes – Valentin Belaud of France, Charles Fernandez of Guatemala and Bence Kardos of Hungary – made their comments in an article in the Hungarian newspaper Nemzeti Sport.

Belaud (FRA), who won gold at both the UIPM 2016 and 2019 Pentathlon World Championships, said: “I support with excitement this new version of modern pentathlon. As mentioned by Mr Bach [IOC President Dr Thomas Bach] at our highest instances of pentathlon, ‘Change or be changed!’

“I am a high-level athlete since around 15 years now and I have seen the evolution in Pentathlon. The first quality of a pentathlete is to be adaptable and that’s what we’ve been doing for many years now.

“This new version is, to my eyes, a great way to make the Pentathlon discipline grow…

“Today, I’m 28 years old and this new version also scares me! Not for our sport that I love but for my eagerness to be adaptable. I am world champion with the current version of pentathlon and my first thoughts go towards keeping this version and resisting change. But this would be a selfish thought because this could question our place in the Olympic Games…

“The UIPM has worked for many years on improving our sports for all the nations in the world to embrace it! So, like any change, it does scare me but for all the youth generation of pentathletes out there who dream of representing their country at the Olympic Games, I need to overcome this fear and work in order to progress, continuously.

“What is important for us athletes today is to continue to discuss with the UIPM via the Athletes Committee to bring up our thoughts and ideas in order to obtain the best Olympic version of our sport.”

UIPM Athletes Committee Member Fernandez (GUA), Pan American Games champion and former junior world champion, said: “I know it has been very difficult to understand the changes that have been happening in Pentathlon.

“I believe the most recent changes are very important for the future of our sport. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is very fast changing. The Olympics has shifted into an event that is surrounded by spectators and media. When there is not a sport that can resemble the expectations set by the IOC, then there is risk for expulsion.

“This is the case for the UIPM. Despite the situation that we are going through in this present moment, the UIPM has done a great job in being able to adjust to the requirements set by the IOC in order to keep Pentathlon in the Olympics.

“There is a lot of confusion upon how the sport will function at Olympic level but I believe change is good for future Pentathlon generations. We need to adapt to the circumstances and show the world that Pentathlon is one of the strongest Olympic events.

“Every athlete’s dream is to go to the Olympics and it would be sad for that not to happen any more for Pentathlon. There is a lot of work and testing that needs to be done still and unfortunately the current world situation does not allow for an easy transition in the new format, but as pentathletes we will find a way and at the end of the day I believe we will become stronger and better through the changes and innovation through sport.”

Kardos (HUN), the European Under 24 champion, added: “The chances are that continuous modification will be needed in order to keep our sport on the programme of the Olympics.

“As long as we have the traditional disciplines [of Modern Pentathlon] and we can reach back to our roots, then there is no reason to worry. We need to adopt the necessary speed-up from the media point of view, but it’s gratifying that the essence of Modern Pentathlon remains with this new format, too.”

Following the New Pentathlon test events in Budapest (HUN) and Cairo (EGY) in September 2020, further testing and evaluation of the new format will take place in 2021.

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