Horsewoman in tears and animal abuse: pentathlon in turmoil in Tokyo

Tokyo Olympic Games 2021 file

The coach of the German team, Kim Raisner, was excluded from the Olympics for striking Friday the horse drawn by Annika Schleu. A slippage that throws a harsh light on a very particular discipline of the Olympic world.

Baron Charles Pierre Fredy de Coubertin, architect of the modern Olympic Games, saw “the true sacrament of the complete athlete” (1 ). He attached a “great value” to his modern pentathlon combining swimming, fencing, horse riding, running and shooting , inspired by the ancient pentathlon which highlighted the virtues of the ideal soldier. interval, horses supplied by the organizing country and drawn at the last moment, this is what should, in my opinion, give the whole a first-rate educational character ”, he added.

Not sure that the baron, very little inclined to open the Games to women (2), would have appreciated what has been played out over the last two days around the women’s pentathlon events, leading the International Federation of Modern Pentathlon (UIPM) to exclude from the Games Olympics, Germany coach Kim Raisner for hitting a horse in Friday’s race on Saturday.

The incident took place as the v Olympic champion of the Rio Games, Annika Schleu, who at that moment was leading the competition and well placed to win a medal, was struggling to control Saint Boy, the horse she had drawn for the d riding.

It is a particularity, and not the least, of the pentathlon. For the show jumping event, faithful in this to the heritage of Baron de Coubertin, the athletes draw lots for the horse they are going to ride and are only allowed to ride it for twenty minutes before the test, ten minutes on the pan and ten minutes they can blow it up. “In classical equestrian sport, riders and horses train together for years” , underlines the IOC . The challenge to the pentathletes is therefore “unique in the world of sport and it is one of the elements giving the modern pentathlon its particular character” .

Whip In tears, the German athlete had all the trouble in the world to make his horse gallop, and gave him many strokes with his whip and spur. Saint Boy then multiplied the refusals of obstacle. The German did not finish her course and finally finished 24 e of the pentathlon.

In a press release published on Saturday, the UIPM explains having disqualified Kim Raisner “for the end of the Tokyo Olympics” . The federation made this decision after studying “a video which shows Mrs. Raisner hitting the horse Saint Boy with her fist, ridden by Annika Schleu” .

The horse riding event gave rise to numerous falls on Friday and several riders had similar difficulties to those encountered by Annika Schleu.

In the end, the Briton Kate French was titled Friday. The French Elodie Clouvel, reigning Olympic vice-champion, took only 6th place while Marie Oteiza, very comfortable on her horse during the show jumping event, was classified 04 e.

Among the boys, the gold medal also fell into the hands of the British, with the title obtained on Saturday by Joseph Choong. The two French Valentin’s, Prades and Belaud, respectively finished 7th and 10 e.

(1) in its Olympic Memories , 1912

(2) “Impractical, uninteresting, unsightly, and we are not afraid to add: incorrect, such would be in our opinion this female half-Olympiad. This is not our conception of the Olympic Games in which we believe that we have sought and that we must continue to seek the realization of the following formula: the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athletics with the internationalism for base, loyalty for means, art for framework and female applause for reward ”, he writes in 1912 in Olympic Review

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