Winding up the spin cycle in preparation for the summer Olympics is… modern pentathlon. That’s right, modern pentathlon, the five-event sport that includes the improbable mix of fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, show jumping, pistol shooting and a 3,200-meter cross-country run.
And it’s coming soon to an online platform and to social media, all part of a concerted effort to make it available (and relevant) to a new generation of fans.
According to an article in Inside The Games, the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM) has officially launched its online coverage website, aimed at increasing the exposure of the sport ahead of the Olympics in Rio. The site, available here, features a one-hour program of each UIPM event, featuring highlights from fencing, swimming and riding before the closing combined event is streamed live.
The platform will provide both live and on-demand coverage in the build-up to Rio 2016, where modern pentathlon competition is due to be held from August 18 to 20. The online video portal will also include a social media hub, which will feature information from international and national federations.
This concerted effort to bring modern pentathlon closer to the viewing public is a watershed moment. Many of those who follow the televised Olympics are familiar with other aspects of the Games and in many cases, with some of the sports featured in modern pentathlon, but the combination event has been less than thoroughly understood by the mainstream audience. In addition, modern pentathlon generally does not receive the same level of television coverage enjoyed by other sports such as soccer, gymnastics and track & field.
The goal, say organizers, is to make the sport more readily available to those who already watch, as well as more understandable to those who want to learn more.
“It is very important that we now have a dedicated home for live coverage of our sport, as well as a social media hub where fans can follow the activities of our wonderful athletes all in one place," UIPM President Klaus Schormann said. “The launch of UIPM TV is a real gesture of intent as modern pentathlon prepares for a busy Olympic year.”
UIPM Athletes' Committee chairman Dmytro Kirpulyanskyy, bronze medalist at the 2009 World Championships, added: “The introduction of UIPM TV with its social hub is a big step forward for our sport. “The most important thing is that the project has been implemented this season before the Olympic Games. Now all modern pentathlon fans have a great opportunity to be much closer to their favorite athletes."
Modern pentathlon’s world governing body has entered into a partnership with British-based broadcaster Sunset+Vine, as well as digital media services provider Digotel, who will run the online UIPM platform.