|Date||13 – 17 October 1968|
|Location||Campo Militar No. 1, Ciudad de México / Sala de Armas Fernando Montes de Oca, Ciudad Deportiva Magdalena Mixhuca, Ciudad de México / Polígono de Tiro Vicente Suárez, Campo Militar No. 1, Ciudad de México / Alberca Olímpica Francisco Márquez, Ciudad de México|
|Participants||48 from 18 countries|
|Format||Scoring by point tables.|
The two dominant pentathletes since the institution of World Championships had been Igor Novikov (URS) and András Balczó (HUN). But they had both yet to win Olympic individual gold. Novikov was now retired, but Balczó, World Champion in 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1967, was favored to win in Ciudad de México. However, the riding proved decisive as it often does. Balczó drew a poor horse and finished only 22nd in the steeplechase. His teammate, István Moná, placed second in épée fencing and moved into the lead after the second phase. After three phases, Balczó was only in sixth, with Moná still leading, followed by Sweden’s Björn Ferm, who had been third at the 1967 Worlds. Moná was not a strong swimmer and Ferm and Balczó placed second and fifth in the swim to move into first and second overall after four phases. The lead was 65 points and Balczó was considered a stronger runner than Ferm so the title was still in doubt. Balczó finished the run in 14:07.2 on the 4,000 metre course to place second, but it was not enough. He had actually closed the margin at one kilometer, but the effort was too much, and he blew up in the last half of the race. Ferm finished in 14:25.7 and fifth place in cross-country, and held onto the gold medal with an 11-point margin.
Wallechinsky has chronicled the frustrations felt by modern pentathletes who suffer a bad draw in the horse riding section. Describing the German rider, Hans-Jürgen Todt, whose horse did not finish the steeplechase with any points, Wallechinsky noted in The Complete Book of the Olympics, “After completing the course, Todt, disconsolate at seeing his years of training gone to waste because of bad luck, attacked the horse and had to be pulled away by his teammates.”
|46||Hans Jürgen Todt||FRG||3,009|