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History

The roots of Modern Pentathlon can be traced to the ancient Pentathlon, which included the following five disciplines: discus throw, javelin, long jump, the stadium-length race, and wrestling. The ancient Pentathlon was incorporated into the ancient Olympic Games in 708 B.C..

Pierre de Coubertin wished to include a combined sport into the programme of the modern Olympic Games, which would highlight the prototype of the multi-faceted “super athlete”, someone who combines strength, technique and a strong personality. Inspired by the ancient Pentathlon, he created the Modern pentathlon, a sport that combines technical disciplines such as Shooting, Fencing and Riding, together with strength and endurance disciplines like Swimming and Cross-country running.

The choice of these sports was based on the legend of a warrior who, having to convey a message to the rear of the fighting forces, had to battle on horseback with his pistol and sword. However, because his horse was killed in the process, he had to swim and run to complete his mission.

On an international level, the modern pentathlon is managed and administered by the

International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), which was founded in 1948 and is based in the Principality of Monaco.

 

Olympic History

The men’s Modern pentathlon was included in the Olympic competition schedule at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm, while the women’s category was added for the first time at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

 

Technical

Disciplines 

Qualification tournaments take place during the 18 months prior to the Olympics. Through competitions such as the World Cup Series, World Championships and continental championships, 36 men and 36 women qualify. Men and women athletes compete in all five sports within a single day. The addition of each individual score gained by the athlete determines his or her final standing. The winner is the one with the highest overall score. The disciplines of the Modern pentathlon in the finals, as well as at the Olympic Games, are held in the following order:  fencing, swimming, riding and the combined event (shooting and cross country running)

Fencing:

Athletes fence all other competitors once using electric epees. Bouts are fenced for one hit and last a maximum of one minute. Double hits are annulled. If neither fencer has scored a hit within the time limit, a double defeat will be recorded.

Swimming:

A 200m freestyle swim, where the athletes are seeded in heats according their personal best times. A time of 2 minutes 30 seconds equates to 1000 pentathlon points.

Riding:

Athletes ride unfamiliar horses over a series of 12 show-jumping obstacles. The leading athlete after the previous disciplines draws their horse by lot. On the basis of this draw, the other horses (which have been previously numbered) are allocated to the other competitors. The athletes have just 20 minutes in the warm-up arena over five practice jumps before coming out to compete.

Combined event (running and shooting):

The climax to the competition. The combined event begins with a handicapped start, calculated on the basis of the results after the previous events. It is a two discipline event, where athletes run a total distance of 3000m. The run is interspersed by shooting three sets of 5 electronic targets. Only after having hit 5 targets with an unlimited number of shots OR after a time of 1 minute 10 seconds can the competitor start from the firing point to perform each running leg of 1000m. The first person to cross the line is the winner. A time of 12 minutes 30 seconds equates to 2000 pentathlon points.

equipment

Swimming
Swimming suit, swimming cap and protective eye goggles (to protect the eyes of the swimmers from the chlorine and to improve vision)

Riding
Riding uniform: riding breeches, shirt, riding-coat, boots, crash helmet / head guard and riding stick (whip)

Fencing
Fencing uniform for épée, fencing glove, protective mask, electrical sword blade (épée)

Combined (shooting and Running)
Laser pistol and running clothing on which it is compulsory to write the athlete's name and (in international events) the name of his/her country.

rules

The Rules for Modern Pentathlon are published annually by the International Federation, UIPM. These rules are primarily aimed at international events and can be downloaded here.

Pentathlon GB publishes its own rules for competitions held in GB which can be downloaded from the resources page. These follow closely the rules of the UIPM but which do have some variations to take account of local circumstances and different competition formats, such as biathlon, triathlon and tetrathlon.

These rules are reviewed each year. Separate rules are published for the Schools' Biathlon competition series. Modern Pentathlon is based on a system of scoring pentathlon points depending on the score or time that you record in each discipline. For each discipline there is a target time or score which is equivalent to 1000 pentathlon points.

If you do better (or worse) than that target score you accumulate more (or fewer) pentathlon points. What the target times and scores are depends on your age group. The rules are very detailed and competitors should make themselves familiar with them before they compete. Modern Pentathlon rules differ in significant ways from the rules for their separate sports so it is important that you read and understand the rules.

Team HeroesEntire Team

Samantha Murray is the youngest member of the British modern pentathlon team and was inspired to take up the sport by Steph Cook, who won gold when women were allowed to compete in the sport at the Olympics for the first time in 2000.

M...

Our Results

Total: 7 medals
  • 2 Gold
  • 2 Silver
  • 3 Bronze
Stockholm 1912
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Antwerp 1920
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Paris 1924
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Amsterdam 1928
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Los Angeles 1932
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Berlin 1936
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 1948
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Helsinki 1952
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Melbourne 1956
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Rome 1960
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Tokyo 1964
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Mexico City 1968
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Munich 1972
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Montreal 1976
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Moscow 1980
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Los Angeles 1984
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Seoul 1988
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Barcelona 1992
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Atlanta 1996
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
Sydney 2000
  • 1 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Athens 2004
  • 0 Gold
  • 0 Silver
  • 1 Bronze
Beijing 2008
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
London 2012
  • 0 Gold
  • 1 Silver
  • 0 Bronze
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