Modern Pentathlon Testing 45-Minute Race ‘James Bond Meets The Krypton Factor’ | Olympic Games

Modern pentathlon is to test a radical new 45-minute format that will be “like James Bond meets the Krypton factor” as part of plans to transform the event after ditching show jumping in favor of obstacle racing, can reveal the Guardian.

The proposal, which would involve minimal breaks between a fencing element followed by swimming, obstacle course and laser gun events, is designed to tap into the US market and give the sport a much bigger presence on the stage. world.

Among the ideas also discussed are showing athletes’ heartbeats as they run, amplifying the sound of guns during fencing and inviting Hollywood to help transform the way the sport is broadcast.

Joel Bouzou, vice-president of the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, the sport’s governing body, promised that the new format and the introduction of obstacle courses would be “exciting and successful”.

“With obstacle courses there are times when you have to jump, hang on and choose options – which means you have to think and there is a tactical element,” he added. “We want to incorporate all of that and find the complete athlete.

When it was suggested to Bouzou that it sounded like a cross between James Bond and the Krypton Factor, he replied, “Exactly.”

Bouzou also defended the controversial decision to drop show jumping, following a Pentathlon United poll which found 95% of athletes were unhappy with the way the UIPM had led the change, saying that the sport had no other choice if it wanted to stay in the Olympics after Paris 2024.

Briton James Cooke, 2018 world champion: “It’s a very emotional subject… but we had to make a decision to preserve the future of the sport.” Photography: Leon Neal/Getty Images

The Frenchman, who won the world title in 1987, said one problem was that access to horses was very difficult in many parts of Africa and Asia – meaning the sport was not truly global – while the lottery element of pairing horses with riders at events was also “unfair”.

“We understand that some are unhappy,” he added. “But we have a lot more people who want to embrace change. What we do is build the future of our sport.

Bouzou said the introduction of obstacle courses was part of wider reforms aimed at transforming the sport – which was reduced from five days to one day in 1996 – into a fast-paced televised event.

“There are things that still need to be tested,” he said. “But if we do the whole thing with breaks, it could get to almost an hour. And if we make it nearly continuous, we get to something like 45 minutes. This is ideal for a live program on American television.

Michael Payne, a former IOC marketing director who was asked to join the UIPM’s Fifth Discipline Working Group as an external expert, said the sport had no choice but to radically reform.

“The IOC has introduced quite rigorous research data, which includes TV audience, social following, global footprint, viewership and cost,” he said. “And the modern pentathlon behaves all the way down. Unless you transform it, it no longer contributes to the success, development and strength of the Olympics. »

Payne said David Hill, the former head of Fox Sports, reiterated that point ahead of Monday’s ruling. “David, who is perhaps the greatest living producer of sports television, said of the modern pentathlon: ‘At the moment you are on the verge of death, but you have the potential to become a player in the hours of prime time if you repackage this,” he added.

Peter Hutton, the former CEO of Eurosport and now head of sports and entertainment at Meta, also pointed out that shorter formats were vital for television.

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    Thank you for your opinion.

    “The session advisers were saying, ‘You don’t have to solve everything now,'” Payne said. came back with something damn exciting and good.’ And they did.

    British athlete James Cooke, the 2018 world champion, said he supported the reforms but acknowledged the sport was divided.

    “It’s a very emotional subject,” said Cooke, who sits on the UIPM Athletes’ Commission. “I also have a very close affinity with the sport of equestrianism, but we had to make a decision to safeguard the future of this sport.

    “We were facing pressure, not just from the IOC, but about how to develop the sport in countries that don’t have easy access to horses. I hope this is a new era in terms of starting and growing in more nations to make it a global sport.

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