| Event type

Individual, Men

Date27 – 31 August 1972
LocationReitstadion, Riem, München / Fechthalle 2, Messegelände (Halle 20), München / Schießanlage, Hochbrück, München / Schwimmhalle, Olympiapark, München / Olympiastadion, Olympiapark, München
Participants59 from 20 countries
FormatScoring by point tables.

András Balczó (HUN) was the best pentathlete of the 1960s, winning five consecutive World Championships – 1963, 1965-67, and 1969. But he had yet to win an individual Olympic gold medal, placing second in 1968 after being favored. He was not favored in 1972, that distinction going to the Soviet World Champion (1971) Boris Onishchenko. After four phases, Balczó was tied for third with the defending gold medalist Björn Ferm (SWE), both trailing Onishchenko and his teammate, Pavel Lednev. But Balczó was a far superior runner and finished third in the cross-country run, pulling him ahead of both Soviets to an easy overall victory. Onishchenko won the silver and Lednev the bronze medal. This was Balczó’s third gold medal, adding it to team golds in 1960 and 1968, still the most ever by an Olympic modern pentathlete – thru 2008. The gold, and the team silver in 1972, gave him five Olympic medals, an Olympic record at the time. Balczó later married 1972 Olympic gymnast Mónika Császár. They would have 11 children and he would become an extreme right-wing politician.

During the competition it was discovered that 14 athletes had taken sedatives (Valium and Librium) before the shooting phase. The drugs were not banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), although they were by the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM). But at the Olympics, the IOC rules were followed, so the athletes were not disqualified.

1András BalczóHUN5,412Gold
2Boris OnishchenkoURS5,335Silver
3Pavel LednyovURS5,328Bronze
4Jim FoxGBR5,311
5Vladimir ShmelyovURS5,302
6Björn FermSWE5,283
7Heiner ThadeFRG5,145
8Risto HurmeFIN5,094
9Chuck RichardsUSA5,074
10Michel GueguenFRA5,072
11John FitzgeraldUSA5,070
12Zsigmond VillányiHUN5,047
13Ryszard WachPOL4,973
14Jørn SteffensenDEN4,887
15Pál BakóHUN4,879
16Mario MeddaITA4,863
17Veikko SalminenFIN4,852
18Wolfgang LeuAUT4,852
19Martti KeteläFIN4,849
20Walter EsserFRG4,826
21Janusz Pyciak-PeciakPOL4,817
22Jean-Pierre GiudicelliFRA4,807
23Dumitru SpîrleaROU4,754
24Bo JanssonSWE4,739
25Hans-Gunnar LiljenwallSWE4,704
26Georgi StoyanovBUL4,695
27Hole RößlerFRG4,678
28Urs HugiSUI4,661
29Scott TaylorUSA4,656
30Raoul GueguenFRA4,638
31Masaru SakanoJPN4,627
32Robert BarrieAUS4,600
33Yuso MakihiraJPN4,583
34Giovanni PeruginiITA4,581
35Peter Zobl-WesselyAUT4,545
36Barry LillywhiteGBR4,527
37Klaus PetersenDEN4,492
38Marian CosmescuROU4,490
39Nicolo DeligiaITA4,487
40Stanisław SkwiraPOL4,486
41Peter MackenAUS4,449
42Gilberto ToledanoMEX4,428
43Eduardo OliveraMEX4,426
44Bruno JerebicnikAUT4,415
45Hans MüllerSUI4,392
46Jan BekkenkNED4,391
47Robert PhelpsGBR4,385
48Adalbert CovaciROU4,381
49Akira KuboJPN4,371
50Velko BratanovBUL4,339
51Beat GanzSUI4,323
52René HeitmannDEN4,190
53Rob VonkNED4,153
54Scott ScheuermannCAN4,072
55Juan José CastillaMEX4,014
56Kenneth MaatenCAN3,987
57Angel PepelyankovBUL3,971
58Henk KredietNED3,786
59George SkeneCAN3,297