Germany to drop animal cruelty investigation involving Olympic pentathlete and coach in exchange for donation to charity

POTSDAM, Germany -- German prosecutors will drop an animal cruelty investigation into an athlete and a coach who were shown striking a horse during the Olympic modern pentathlon last year.

The investigation will be dropped once athlete Annika Schleu and coach Kim Raisner have paid an agreed sum to an unnamed charitable organization, prosecutors in the eastern city of Potsdam said Tuesday.

Schleu lost her chance of a gold medal when the horse Saint Boy, which was assigned to her at random, refused to cooperate during the showjumping round of the modern pentathlon in Tokyo. TV footage showed Schleu repeatedly used the whip and was urged to strike the horse by Raisner. The coach was also shown leaning over a fence to strike Saint Boy.

Prosecutors said they reached the decision to drop the 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 modern pentathlon's governing body plans to remove riding from the sport, a repeat of the incident is unlikely.

Raisner was suspended from the Tokyo Olympics over her part in the incident and later ordered to undergo animal welfare training before attending any International Modern Pentathlon Union competitions.