I saw this article and thought it noteworthy. Original article here.
A German coach who punched a horse will not be prosecuted for animal cruelty after officials ruled it was an ‘exceptional physical and psychological situation’.
German prosecutors will drop the investigation into athlete Annika Schleu and coach Kim Raisner once the pair have paid an agreed sum to an unnamed charity, prosecutors in the eastern city of Potsdam said on Tuesday.
Schleu, 31, lost her chance of a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics modern pentathlon last year when the horse Saint Boy, which was assigned to her at random, refused to cooperate during the showjumping round.
Athletes are given only 20 minutes to bond with an unfamiliar horse before their round and Schleu, who had been leading the field, was in tears as she came into the ring.
TV footage showed Schleu, representing Germany in Tokyo, repeatedly using the whip as she was urged to strike the horse by Raisner, who was also seen leaning over a fence to apparently hit Saint Boy with her fist.
German prosecutors will drop an animal cruelty investigation into athlete Annika Schleu and coach Kim Raisner, after footage showed Raisner striking a horse with her fist (pictured)
The investigation will be dropped when Schleu and Raisner (pictured in 2015) have paid an agreed sum to an unnamed charity, prosecutors in the city of Potsdam said on Tuesday
Prosecutors said they decided to drop the animal cruelty investigation because the horse was not injured, the conduct in question took place ‘briefly’, and because the Olympics constituted an ‘exceptional physical and psychological situation’.
The prosecutors added that, since the modern pentathlon’s governing body plans to remove riding from the sport, a repeat of the incident is unlikely.
Raisner, 49, was suspended from the Tokyo Olympics after the incident and later ordered to undergo animal welfare training before attending any International Modern Pentathlon Union competitions.
At the time, the world governing body for modern pentathlon, the UIPM, issued a statement revealing Raisner’s punishment.
The statement read: ‘The UIPM Executive Board (EB) has given a black card to the Germany team coach Kim Raisner, disqualifying her from the remainder of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
‘The EB reviewed video footage that showed Ms Raisner appearing to strike the horse Saint Boy, ridden by Annika Schleu, with her fist during the riding discipline of the women’s modern pentathlon competition.
Schleu (pictured) lost her chance of a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics modern pentathlon last year when the horse Saint Boy refused to cooperate during the showjumping round
TV footage showed Schleu, representing Germany in Tokyo, repeatedly using the whip and Schleu’s hopes of a medal were dashed when Saint Boy collided with the fifth hurdle
‘Her actions were deemed to be in violation of the UIPM competition rules, which are applied to all recognised modern pentathlon competitions including the Olympic Games.
‘The EB decision was made today at the Tokyo Stadium before the resumption of the men’s modern pentathlon competition.’
Raisner is a former modern pentathlete who competed at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Schleu’s horse had appeared spooked before even entering the arena, and aimlessly made his way around the challenging course while refusing several jumps.
Coverage seemingly showed an emotional Schleu in floods of tears before even beginning her performance on Saint Boy, who had already proven a tricky ride for his first athlete.
Having made their way into the arena, Schleu set about attempting to salvage her dreams of a podium finish but after Saint Boy cleared four sets of hurdles, he collided with the fifth.
It brought a rapid end to her lead and Saint Boy buckled despite Schleu looking to guide him around the course for another go. She was made to finish with zero points, leaving her rock bottom.
Having narrowly missed out on a medal in Rio 2016, after finishing fourth, Schleu was left devastated. Her tears were broadcast as Saint Boy jumped around, seeming alarmed and in no fit state to compete.
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