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Pentathlon 101

The most perfect athletes are the pentathletes, because in their bodies strength and speed are combined in beautiful harmony...” – Aristotle

The brainchild of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games, the event was introduced into the 5th Olympiad Stockholm Games of 1912. Only remotely resembling the ancient Greek pentathlon (consisting of running, jumping, javelin, discus and wrestling) inspired by the warmongering Spartans, modern pentathletes compete in:

Athletes move from one event to the next with a short break between. Pentathletes accumulate points in each event; the athlete with the most points at the end of the day wins.


The choice of the five diverse and unrelated sports that make up the Modern Pentathlon arose out of the romantic, tough adventures of a liaison officer whose horse was brought down in enemy territory. Having defended himself with his pistol and sword, he swims across a raging river and delivers the message on foot.


Since the sport was created it has undergone many changes in format. Originally taking place over 5 days the sport changed to a one day format for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Women competed in the Olympics for the first time at Sydney in 2000. In 2008, the Union International de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), the international governing body of the sport voted for the shooting and running to be combined and in 2010, the shooting format was changed from air pistols to laser shooting.


Modern Pentathlon in History

1912 - Stockholm: First time in the Olympics
1948 - London: UIPM was born
1993 - Handicap start for running event
1994 - Air pellet shooting implemented
1996 - Atlanta: First time all 5 events
competed in one day at the             Olympics
2000 - Sydney: First time for women's Modern Pentathlon event in

2008 - Combined event (Run & Shoot)
2010 - Singapore: First ever Youth Olympic Games
2010 - Laser pistols implemented for
environment friendly

2012 - London 100 years of Modern Pentathlon in the Olympic

2014 - Fencing Bonus Round implemented in Modern Pentathlon

2015 - First edition of UIPM Laser-Run World Championships are

             held in Perpignan (FRA)

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