Japan’s Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS) is working with international athletics bodies in a bid to get the course from its hit format Ninja Warrior (aka Sasuke) included in the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games.
TBS, which created the format in 1997, said it is collaborating with World Obstacle, the Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles (FISO) and the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) to test a Ninja Warrior obstacle course event as a proposed new fifth discipline of the Modern Pentathlon for inclusion at the LA Olympics in six years.
Ninja Warrior has become a globe-trotting format that has become available in more than 160 countries since its launch on TBS, with local versions produced in over 20 countries.
Earlier this year, UK broadcaster ITV revealed it would be reviving the competition series after a three-year break, with an updated format in the works.
Modern Pentathlon is an Olympic sport consisting of five disciplines: fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, laser pistol shooting, and running. UIPM announced in May 2022 that an obstacle course would be tested as a potential replacement for the riding discipline in the Modern Pentathlon after the 2024 Paris Olympics.
According to the UIPM, two types of obstacle sports will be tested, one of which is Ninja Competitions, a sport made popular worldwide by Ninja Warrior. The first test competition is being held as a collaboration between UIPM and FISO in Ankara, Turkey on 27 & 28 June, immediately after the UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final in Ankara.
At UIPM and FISO’s request, TBS has agreed to provide a Ninja Warrior obstacle course for use as a demonstration of the event in Ankara. The same course is currently used to film local versions of the Ninja Warrior format shown in France, Poland, and other European countries. The Wall Flip, Parallel Pipes, Wind Chimes and Tire Swing obstacles will be featured.
Klaus Schormann, UIPM’s president, said his organisation was undertaking “a comprehensive and transparent process” to transform Modern Pentathlon for the Olympics.
“The upcoming first Obstacle Discipline Test Event in Ankara will be an important step and we look forward to watching pentathletes and obstacle athletes test themselves on the obstacles provided in collaboration with TBS and FISO.”
Miho Takashima, who leads the format globally, added that TBS is “looking forward to working with the UIPM and FISO to further expand the possibilities of obstacle racing.”