The Olympic Games are the opportunity for athletes to compare themselves internationally. It is a competition with a lot of pressure for coaches, athletes, the Olympic organization and even for the countries themselves. That is why today we will talk about the Olympic scandal that arose in the Modern Pentathlon. The scandal involved athlete Annika Schleu and her trainer Kim Raiser in the Equestrian Showjumping event. Should the Olympic organization change its rules? There is certainly a lot to ponder after this Olympic scandal at the Pentathlon in Tokyo 2020.
During the modern Pentathlon event both Annika Schleu and her trainer lost their temper because of the behavior of the assigned horse. This led to the crying of Annika Schelu and trainer Kim Raiser to punch the horse’s hindquarter. What failed and who failed in that situation?
The modern pentathlon is a version of the ancient pentathlon. It was the ultimate test for athletes to prove that they were integral athletes. To achieve this, tests of different disciplines were carried out to demonstrate the integrality and completeness of the athlete.
This puts even more pressure on athletes, who must master different disciplines. In many cases the so-called pentathletes do not dominate 100% each of the disciplines.
This means that they can perform better in some disciplines and yet another can sned off their Olympic aspirations.
The case of Annika Schleu and Kim Raiser is a case for reflection. This time the pressure of a test was transferred to the horse named Saint Boy. Should the horse be subjected to such levels of pressure? But even more so, should we subject pentathletes to this level of pressure as well?
These are certainly questions that we will try to elucidate in this article. Join us to find out.
Table of Contents.
The pentathlon in the ancient world.
In ancient times it was sought to show that the athlete fulfilled all the skills of a great warrior. The winner of the pentathlon in ancient times was declared “winner of the games” giving him the title of “Victor ludorum”. As in modern games, the pentathlete participated in 5 disciplines. The disciplines of ancient pentathlon were as follows:
- Race of a stadium: It allowed to demonstrate the speed of the warrior or athlete running while being cheered by the spectators.
- Fight: It consisted of winning by adding 3 points by knocking down the opponent, making him surrender or taking him out of the combat area. The start of the match occurs with one fighter on his abdomen while another on top tries to hold him. It was for the Greeks the best show of force.
- Long jump with weightlifters: Weights were used that were released at the last minute to add distance to the jump.
- Javelin Throw: In ancient times the javelin was thrown using a leather strip in the shape of a slingshot to increase the distance of the throw.
- Lanzamiento de Disco: El lanzamiento de disco es uno de los que se parece más a la actualidad. Sin embargo, las dimensiones y material del disco fueron variando con el tiempo. El disco medía entre 15 y 30 cm y pesaba entre 1 y 6 kilos. El material fue cambiando, pasando de piedra a hierro y luego a bronce.
Pentathlon in ancient times focused on measuring the athlete’s ability to fight, run, jump, and use throwing “weapons.” The Olympic Games made it possible to measure the warlike capacity of their warriors.
The Olympic Games, an opportunity for peace.
One of the most interesting features is that the Olympic Games also represented an opportunity for peace. In order to participate in the Olympic Games, cities had to agree to a truce during the olympic games.
The war gave way to competition between cities through Olympic sport. It could also result in the recognition of power among the nations represented in the capacity of their warriors. Thanks to the Olympic competition, countries could study each other peacefully, but they could also begin the process of getting to know each other and recognize each other. The Olympic Games are an opportunity for peace.
However, what happened in the Pentathlon makes us reflect… what happened to “Saint Boy”, Kim Raiser and Annika Schleu? We’ll see next.
Olympic Scandal: Kim Raiser and the Pentathlon
The big Olympic scandal in the Pentathlon was caused by the reaction of Kim Raiser, the coach of the Pentathlete Annika Schleu. Schleu had performed remarkably well during the first two competitions: fencing and swimming. Thanks to these results Annika had a real chance of winning an Olympic medal. However, between her victory and her stood “Saints Boy” and the last fence of the equestrian jumping course.
Faced with such a situation Annika Schleu lost control of the horse and began to cry uncontrollably which further altered the horse. For her part, her trainer Kim Raiser from the edge of the jumping circuit struck the horse in her hindquarter with her clenched fist, sparking outrage from the nets and going viral.
Many people have been outraged without even seeing the video of the situation of the horse and Kim Raiser. When watching the recording you can notice that the blow is not strong and did not cause damage to the animal. However, given the level of alteration of the horse it is something that should have been avoided. Who was responsible for such a spectacle? Maybe there’s a little responsibility in each of the participants… Let us proceed to analyse the situation.
The Olympic Scandal and the Modern Pentathlon
One of the aspects of the modern pentathlon is the inclusion of the Equestrian Jumping event. It is true that modernity brought the horse into our lives. But it is also true that equestrian jumping requires a connection between horse and rider that is non-existent in this test.
This is because the modern pentathlon includes among its rules the randomization of the horse to be mounted. This may seem logical when thinking that an integral athlete should be able to ride any horse. But in a stressful environment, where a horse is chosen and there is no time to familiarize yourself with it, this puts both the rider and the horse under unusual pressure.
The latter has been the subject of criticism and solutions could include:
- Pentathlete participates with its own horse: That could add the necessary synchronicity component between rider and horse.
- Pentathlete is assigned a horse at random, but that it has a period of time to connect with it: This would allow the rider the time necessary to link with the horse and facilitate the process.
- That the pentathlete can change horses at any time of the test: Due to the complexity of this rider-horse relationship it is a possibility to avoid accidents that may affect the horse or the rider.
- Pentathlete is randomly assigned several horses and he can select from them. This would allow the rider to choose one with which he feels the most “chemistry”
- Eliminate the equestrian jumping competition of the modern Pentathlon.
No one wants to eliminate the test, but measures will be needed to prevent a repeat of episodes like this. If repeated they could end up ruining the image of the sport.