Olympic Sports >> Modern Pentathlon

Modern Pentathlon

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  • 1 men's competition
  • 1 women's competition


  • 5 events on the same day, in the following order: fencing (epee/ranking round), swimming (200m freestyle), fencing (epee/bonus round), horse riding (show jumping) and a combined running (3,200m) and shooting (10m) event.
  • The athlete with the most points after the first 3 events starts the running and shooting event first. The rest of the field set off behind the leader at different time intervals, depending on their points tallies. The 3,200m race consists of 4 laps of 800m, punctuated by 4 shooting stops. The first athlete to cross the finish line wins the gold medal.



Greeks and Romans take part in the first pentathlons, composed of 5 events, which are designed to reward the most complete athletes.


Creation of the modern pentathlon by Baron Pierre de Coubertin.


The modern pentathlon makes its Olympic debut in Stockholm. The majority of participants are military, and among them is the future American general George S. Patton (5th overall).


The first world championships are held.


The old ranking system, based on finishing positions in the 5 events, is replaced by a points tally based on performances.


Soviet athlete Boris Onishchenko is caught using an electronic beeper to register points in the fencing. The USSR are eliminated and Onishchenko is banned for life.


Reduction of the horse riding course to between 350 and 400m (12 obstacles).


In Atlanta, the swimming race is cut from 300m to 200m, and the foot race is set at 3,000m. The team event is removed from the Olympic programme.


Women compete in the modern pentathlon for the first time at the Games in Sydney.


Lars Hall (Sweden)

The trailblazer. The Swede was the first civilian to win Olympic gold, and the first pentathlete to win two consecutive Olympic titles, in 1952 and 1956. He was also crowned world champion in 1950 and 1951.

Andras Balczo (Hungary)

With 5 straight individual world titles from 1963 to 1969, he symbolised Hungary's domination of the discipline. He won individual gold at the 1972 Games, team golds in 1960 and 1968, and silver medals in 1968 and 1972. A remarkable Olympic record.

Andrey Moiseyev (Russia)

The Russian won the Olympic title at Athens 2004, and successfully defended his crown at Beijing 2008, becoming the first pentathlete since Lars Hall to win back-to-back gold medals. A master of the discipline, he also claimed 7 world championship titles (1 individual) and 6 European titles (2 individual).

Copyright 2012 Agence France-Presse.