Obstacle Racing Confirmed at the Olympics

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Obstacle Racing Announced for Olympic Inclusion

It has been announced! Obstacle Course Racing is in the Olympics! It’s happening!

After years of work from various sporting bodies, the International Olympic Committee Executive Board has accepted a proposal to include obstacle racing in the Olympics.

Obstacle Racing will make its Olympic debut at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, USA.

Also accepted for Olympic inclusion are baseball/softball, cricket (T20), flag football, lacrosse (sixes), squash, and the re-inclusion of weightlifting.

The obstacle race format will be a head-to-head, short-course obstacle race inspired by Ninja Warrior. It’s designed to be fast, exciting, and easily watchable.

The currently published rules for the junior divisions specify the course as consisting of eight obstacles over 60-70m. Athletes are given two attempts at each obstacle. After an unsuccessful second attempt, the athlete will be eliminated from the race.

American Ninja Warrior set

However… the caveat to obstacle racing in the Olympics is that it won’t be a standalone sport. Instead, it’ll be included as part of the sport of Modern Pentathlon. Modern Pentathlon has been in the Olympics since 1912, however it’s been lacking viewership numbers and has been tangled in controversies over the mistreatment of horses in its show jumping component. Modern Pentathlon is a multi-sport consisting of five disciplines – fencing, swimming, running, shooting, and now obstacle racing. Modern Pentathlon was on the verge of being booted out of the Olympics, unless it overhauled its sport. And so entered the exciting new sport of obstacle racing to replace show jumping as the official fifth discipline of Modern Pentathlon.

World Obstacle (FISO), the international governing body for obstacle sports, has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), the international governing body for Modern Pentathlon, aiming to create “a sporting movement with more audience and active participants”.

So obstacle course racing will be in the Olympics from 2028 in Los Angeles, USA! Although, it’ll be in a very different format from what many were expecting. Obstacle racing at the Olympics will be short-course, closer to Ninja Warrior than the distance off-road races of OCR, and it’ll be part of another sport which is Modern Pentathlon.

However, being a discipline of Modern Pentathlon at the Olympics doesn’t exclude a sport from also being a standalone event at the Olympics. As all the other disciplines of Modern Pentathlon (fencing, swimming, shooting, and running) are also standalone Olympics sports in one form or another. There’s very much potential for obstacle racing to branch out of Modern Pentathlon and become a separate event at the Olympics.

Nethertheless, we can’t wait for 2028 to sit down and watch a version of obstacle racing on the world stage at the Olympics!

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