By Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) President Dr Klaus Schormann and World Obstacle President Ian Adamson

At a time when the world needs to come together and celebrate what unites us, not what divides us, we find ourselves building an exciting sporting union that will undoubtedly enrich people’s lives.

As elected Presidents at the helm of two International Federations, each with its own unique history and structure, we are united by a common commitment towards evolving our sports and fostering unity through athletic competition.

Our historic journey began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in Bath, England, in August 2023, a symbolic moment that cemented the shared path of UIPM and World Obstacle.  

It was a decision further validated by the unanimous vote of the 141st IOC Session in Mumbai, which ensured the continued Olympic journey of modern pentathlon, now rejuvenated with obstacle racing making its Olympic debut.

Modern Pentathlon is the original multi-sport. It was formed as pentathlon as part of the Ancient Olympic Games all the way back in 708 BC. Then in 1912, in Stockholm, a reinvented pentathlon was introduced to the Olympic Games and to the world by the great reformist, Baron Pierre de Coubertin – who called it Modern Pentathlon to distinguish it from the ancient Greek multi-sport.

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What previously consisted of foot race, javelin, discus, long jump, and wrestling was replaced by horse riding, fencing, swimming, running, and shooting.

Modern Pentathlon has a long tradition – and an incredible Olympic heritage. No sport has undergone more changes and innovations, especially in the past three decades, to retain its ‘modern’ status and meet the changing expectations of the Olympic Movement and global society.

The latest innovation, integrating obstacle within the Modern Pentathlon movement, takes change to a new level and creates one of the most profound transformations in Olympic history. In Los Angeles in 2028, the home of the global hit TV show and cultural phenomenon American Ninja Warrior and other popular obstacle sports entertainment shows, an exciting sprint obstacle course will replace riding as one of the five modern pentathlon disciplines.

This will bring obstacle into the Olympic Games for the first time while ensuring a new golden era for modern pentathlon, which has featured on the Olympic program for 112 consecutive years.

Obstacle competitions are open to the whole world, and with universal appeal. We only need to remember our own childhood to recall the joy of swinging, running, and jumping on obstacles in playgrounds. And, like many of the most enduringly popular Olympic properties, obstacle is sport at its fundamental level, embodying play and entertainment.

This is one reason why it belongs in a reformed Modern Pentathlon, combining with the four existing disciplines, to create an even more appealing multi-sport for new generations.

There are many other reasons.

Obstacle competitions balance speed, strength, endurance, coordination, and agility with mental focus – which fits with the philosophy of Modern Pentathlon. Coubertin, with Modern Pentathlon, wanted to test “moral qualities as much as … physical resources, producing thereby the ideal, complete athlete”.

It is a fitting description for many of the incredible formats across the components of the World Obstacle movement – ninja, obstacle course racing, and adventure racing.

Walk around a city and you find obstacles everywhere, in playgrounds, fitness stations, and running circuits. Like the UIPM sport of Laser Run, which has been introducing urban communities to pentathlon for the past decade, the obstacle movement has led to the creation of countless entertainment parks, gyms, teams, and clubs.

It is playable indoor and outdoor, in any environment from parks to city streets to beaches. In both of our movements, we are taking sport to the people, enriching lives.

The idea of multi-sport is to create innovative challenges that will give people all over the world inspiration, motivation, and a reminder that sport should be fun. By integrating obstacle and pentathlon we are creating a multi-sport movement like no other in the world and creating a more complete international federation.

The road to Los Angeles 2028 is not just a countdown to another Olympic Games. It's a journey towards realizing a shared vision of a more inclusive, accessible, engaging, and dynamic sporting experience, one that honors the legacy of our sports while forging a new legacy for the future.

Join us in the next cycle as we change the game – and change the Olympic Games.