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5 Modern Pentathlon events for the 21st century

Updated: Dec 26, 2021

With the news that showjumping is to be removed as an event from the Modern Pentathlon, is it time for a total overhaul of the event to bring it up to date? Pierre de Courbotin designed the modern Pentathlon at the Olympics to represent all the skills needed by a soldier caught behind enemy lines. But what are the skills required of a modern day citizen to survive life in the 21st century? Here are Newsbiscuit's five suggested new events:

-Virgin Media cancellation call : the modern Pentathlon begins with athletes having to call up and try and cancel their current broadband and TV subscription package. With a 30 minute time limit, participants must navigate the automated response system, before beginning verbal combat with up to 15 members of the accounts team. Who can persuade a member of the call centre team that 'I want to cancel my package' doesn't mean that you would like to upgrade to the premium sports offering? Will you ever really know channels are in the 'Maxit' TV package?

-Social media Likeathon: next up is a multiple social media format event, in which you must collect 1000 likes, hearts or thumbs up emojis for statements that you make on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Will you go for some basic virtue signalling expressing your abhorrence at the lack of commitments by big business towards climate change, alongside a picture of your newly installed heatpump? Or will you just share a picture of some cute cats playing on a piano, to a soundtrack of Chopsticks?

-Ikea Saturday afternoon sprint/scrum: athletes are given a list of items that they must collect in order from any local Ikea store, between the hours of 2 and 5pm on a Saturday. Items may include some tea-lights, a shoe storage rack, some random food containers that you'll never use, and a massive rug that would look nice in the living room wouldn't it but I'm not sure it goes with the dark wood bookshelves what do you think, maybe we should leave it and look in CarpetRight? Penalty points are awarded for every person you bang into even if they really shouldn't be blocking the thoroughfare opening and closing that Pax wardrobe door incessantly. And no, you can't go in reverse back through the store, if you forget something, you're disqualified, everyone knows that.

-Dishwasher stack: athletes must fill a standard size dishwasher after the cooking and consumption of home made shepherds pie for 6 people. Widely seen as the ultimate test of stamina, spatial awareness, and basic cleaning skills, will you do a pre-clean of the Pyrex dish? Cutlery facing upwards or downwards? Does the chopping board go in? With a two hour time limit and points awarded for shine, smell, and that squeaky noise you can make pulling your index finger down a clean plate, will you opt for an eco-wash or a quick wash at the temperature of molten lava?

-Aldi Bag Pack: nearing exhaustion, athletes must face a gruelling 5 minute, 'big shop' pack at the budget supermarket. Here athletes have to try and place their produce in bags for life (one for fruit and veg, one for chilled, and one for frozen) without any spillages, crushes or logjams in the packing area, as the till assistant scans and fires them down towards you at the speed of light without ever looking you in the eye. Spectators are encouraged to tut and 'helpfully' point out that you should just move over to the separate packing area, that's what its for, you idiot.


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