Because nothing says “Olympics” like insanely specialized athletes doing some light cultural appropriation, Ninja Warrior, the popular obstacle course competition, is being tested for inclusion in the 2028 Los Angeles Summer Games.
The announcement was made on June 27th by Japan’s TBS (that’s Tokyo Broadcasting System, not to be confused with America’s Turner Broadcasting System). As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Ninja Warrior will be considered for the fifth discipline of the Modern Pentathlon, an insane regular medal competition that currently combines running, swimming, fencing (!), laser pistol shooting (!!!), and equestrian show jumping (?) — not at the same time, unfortunately.
The riding discipline has been in the crosshairs for a while now, as jumping remains one of the deadliest things you can do to a horse, with a fatality rate of around 4.4 deaths per 1,000 starts. So the sport’s organizers, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), announced last month that they would begin testing an obstacle course immediately following UIPM 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final, which wrapped on June 26th.
The testing will take place in Ankara, Turkey, and will involve both Ninja Warrior champions and Modern Pentathletes. “UIPM has undertaken a comprehensive and transparent process to transform Modern Pentathlon into one of the most popular, accessible and exciting sports on the Olympic program,” UIPM President Klaus Schormann said in a statement. “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 the Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles.”
It’s a big moment for Ninja Warrior, which debuted on Japan’s TBS in 1997 under the name Sasuke, and which today can be seen in 160 countries with 20 different local versions, including American Ninja Warrior. For now, they’re testing the events The Wall Flip, Parallel Pipes, Wind Chimes, and Tire Swing.
If this test doesn’t go well, UIPM will look at other obstacle course constructions, which means it’s not too late for Floor Is Lava to take its rightful place as a hallowed Olympic sport.