UIPM President’s welcome to 2024 season
Dear UIPM Family, dear colleagues and friends!
We embark on the 2024 season, Olympic year, with a surge of momentum and a clear sense of purpose knowing that our sport is once again secure in the Olympic movement!
I write this welcome note three months after the 141st Session of the International Olympic Committee in Mumbai (IND) made its historic decision to confirm Modern Pentathlon’s place on the programme of the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.
At this point I must mention the fantastic team effort that delivered this result. Together we rose to the challenge of proving that our sport belongs not only in the history of the Olympic Games, but in its future. And within the UIPM family we are determined to take a lead role in delivering the IOC’s important reforms.
In August in Paris, the world will see a beautiful picture of Modern Pentathlon in its current form, including the 90-minute showcase of all five disciplines that has proved so effective and popular since its introduction in 2023.
At the Palace of Versailles, the introduction of semi-finals will add extra competitive intrigue to our Olympic event, reducing the number of finalists to 18 women and 18 men. An additional day of competition will help us to reach more viewers and spectators with our historic and compelling multi-sport – a sport which never stands still.
This will be the first Summer Olympics built around the reforms of Olympic Agenda 2020+5. In Sydney 2000, Modern Pentathlon achieved gender equality and now the entire Games will become equally female and male in terms of participating athletes. The centenary Games in Paris will also send a strong message about sustainability.
In the birthplace of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the Modern Olympic Games and Modern Pentathlon, we will be reminded of everything that makes the Olympic movement uniquely powerful. While our world continues to be shaken by war and political tension, sport will again shine as a beacon for respect and fairness, education and peace.
Turning to our own 2024 calendar, it will be a fascinating year with Olympic qualification still the main focus for many of our elite athletes and a Pentathlon World Cup series in Egypt, Türkiye, Hungary and Bulgaria followed by our long-awaited return to China for the showpiece UIPM 2024 Pentathlon and Laser Run World Championships in Zhengzhou.
At the same time, we are managing a profound and essential transformation within our sport.
In 2023, Obstacle was integrated into Modern Pentathlon during the UIPM U17, U19 and Junior World Championships, and in many national and continental events. Already we saw the increased accessibility of Modern Pentathlon at grassroots level and the potential of this transition to change the game for current and future audiences. Even the journalists who tried the Obstacle course loved it!
We understand that the end of an era is difficult for many athletes, coaches, judges, organisers and fans of our historic sport. Horses have been a feature of Modern Pentathlon from the start, in 1912. But it was clearly stated by the IOC President in Mumbai that if we had not changed, we would have been changed.
In other words, Modern Pentathlon would now be heading for the Olympic Museum. Instead, we are heading for LA28 – another Games that gives us a chance to redefine what the Olympics means for new generations of fans and athletes.
With Obstacle now an integral part of our movement, we have fans and participants in every corner of the world, making Modern Pentathlon easier to access for so many people who could only dream until now of becoming Olympians. On the governance side, the integration of FISO into UIPM will also make our global community stronger.
I hope you enjoy the 2024 season and the unique combination of excitement and joy, solidarity and hope for the future that sport brings to our lives.
Dr Klaus Schormann