Tokyo Broadcasting System Television (TBS) has announced that its signature “Sasuke” (aka “Ninja Warrior”) obstacle course series may inspire a new addition to the upcoming 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.
The broadcaster, which operates one of Japan’s five major terrestrial TV networks, is partnering with World Obstacle, the Fédération Internationale de Sports d’Obstacles (FISO) and the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) to test a “Sasuke”-like competition for inclusion in the Modern Pentathlon, which currently consists of five disciplines: fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, laser pistol shooting, and running. In May, UIPM announced that it would test an obstacle course as a possible replacement for the horseback discipline, following the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympics.
One of the two obstacle sports under consideration is Ninja Competitions, which is derived from the “Sasuke” programs that have been a TBS fixture since their start in 1997 and are now viewed in 160 countries around the world. Also, more than 20 local versions of the show have been produced.
The first test competition will be held in Ankara, Turkey under UIPM and FISO auspices on June 27 and 28, following the 2022 Pentathlon World Cup Final. TBS is supplying a Ninja Warrior obstacle course used for filming local versions of the “Sasuke” format in Europe.
FISO president Ian Adamson said in a statement: “We are thrilled to be collaborating with TBS and the UIPM on the new 5th discipline. Obstacles have a long history in pentathlon, and introducing a new discipline that is practiced and watched by millions of people in over 160 countries in the form of ”Sasuke’ [Ninja Warrior’] shows has the potential to widen the audience for all stakeholders and enhance the appeal of the sport on the Olympic program.”
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