| Event type

Individual, Men

Date13 – 17 October 1968
LocationCampo 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
Participants48 from 18 countries
FormatScoring 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.”

1Björn FermSWE4,964Gold
2András BalczóHUN4,953Silver
3Pavel LednyovURS4,795Bronze
4Karl-Heinz KutschkeGDR4,764
5Boris OnishchenkoURS4,756
6Raoul GueguenFRA4,756
7István MónaHUN4,714
8Jim FoxGBR4,663
9Stasys ŠaparnisURS4,656
10Mario MeddaITA4,631
11James MooreUSA4,613
12Ferenc TörökHUN4,551
13Jørn SteffensenDEN4,545
14Yuso MakihiraJPN4,529
15Jörg TschernerGDR4,515
16Hans JacobsonSWE4,512
17Elmar FringsFRG4,506
18Seppo AhoFIN4,497
19Eduardo OliveraMEX4,474
20Martti KeteläFIN4,446
21Lucien GuiguetFRA4,406
22Bob BeckUSA4,387
23Wolf-Dietrich SonnleitnerAUT4,371
24Giancarlo MorresiITA4,359
25David BárcenaMEX4,351
26Alex TschuiSUI4,337
27Katsuaki TashiroJPN4,319
28Siegfried SpringerAUT4,293
29Tom LoughUSA4,289
30Barry LillywhiteGBR4,285
31Peter MackenAUS4,284
32Heiner ThadeFRG4,264
33Antoni PanyovskiBUL4,247
34Jorma HotanenFIN4,231
35Konstantin SardzhevBUL4,191
36Toshio FukuiJPN4,1631
37Jean-Pierre GiudicelliFRA4,062
38Robert PhelpsGBR3,931
39Duncan PageAUS3,904
40Wolfgang LüderitzGDR3,843
41Pavel KupkaTCH3,819
42Donald McMikenAUS3,759
43Nicolo DeligiaITA3,657
44Eduardo TovarMEX3,612
45Ivan ApostolovBUL3,462
46Hans Jürgen TodtFRG3,009
ACWolfgang LeuAUTDNF
ACHans-Gunnar LiljenwallSWE4,664DQ2