Designed for the modern Olympics, the sport
combines a total of five events — swimming,
cross country running, pistol shooting, epee
fencing and riding.
Similar to the original competition introduced in Greece at the ancient Olympic games, the modern pentathlon was based upon traditional military training in the late 19th century as an ultimate test of the "complete athlete."
Later, the modern pentathlon was a featured sport at the first modern Games in 1912, and today the grueling combination of events continues to test Olympic athletes to the limit.
For years considered a macho test of physical and mental stamina, women were only allowed to compete in the modern penathlon for the first time beginning with the Sydney Games in 2000.
In 2016 in Rio, the Olympic Modern Pentathlon will be held at Deodoro Modern Pentathlon Park, the first time in the history of the games that all five events will be held in the same arena.
Olympic pentathlon fun facts
The ancient pentathlon consisted of running,
long jump, wrestling, discus and spear throwing.
• The pentathlon was first held in the ancient Olympic Games in 708 BC and consisted of running, long jump, discus, wrestling and spear throwing. The athlete who won three out of five events was the victor.
• The modern pentathlon used to be held over four to six days until the Atlanta games in 1996, when it was condensed into one manic day of competition.
• Unlike equestrian events in which riders use their own horses, in modern pentathlon the athletes are allocated their rides through a draw on competition day.
• In the 1968 modern pentathlon, West Germany's Hans-Jurgen Todt became unhinged when his horse refused to jump. Suddenly, the rider leapt out of the saddle and began slapping the stubborn horse. He only stopped when his teammates restrained him. (There were no medals for Todt that year.)
More about Olympic pentathlon events around the Web:
Modern Pentathlon | Olympic Sport - Good overview of the sport's rules with a description of each competition including background history, related fun facts, photos, news and blog posts.
Internatonale de Pentathlon Moderne
- UIPM is recognized as the "official" site of the Olympics
Pentathlon, where you'll find information on the history of this sport
as well as updates on the Olympics and other events.