|Discipline of||Modern Pentathlon|
|Competitions held||42 (Venues)|
Modern pentathlon is a sport invented by the founder of the Olympic Games, the Baron Pierre de Coubertin. It is better termed the “military pentathlon”, as it supposedly mimics the skills needed by a 19th century soldier. He must first ride a horse and then fight off an enemy with a sword. He must then swim a river to escape, then fight off more enemies with a pistol, and finally, effect the final escape by running a cross-country course.
Coubertin was able to get the sport on the Olympic Program in 1912. The order of the events has varied, but the current order has recently been in the soldier’s trial – riding, fencing, swimming, and combined cross-country running and shooting. The riding is a cross-country steeplechase course. Fencing is a series of one-touch bouts done with épée swords. Shooting is done with a laser pistol from 10 metres (since 2012), but was formerly performed with an air pistol (and originally with rapid-fire pistol). The swim is now a 200 metre freestyle event (formerly 300 metres), and the run was a 3,000 metre cross-country event (formerly 4,000 metres).
From 1912-2008 shooting and cross-country were separate phases of the competition. However, at the 2012 Olympics, the shooting and cross-country run were combined into a single final phase, somewhat similar to biathlon at the Winter Olympics, so there are now actually only four separate phases of modern pentathlon.
The final event is now arranged such that the runners leave the start in the order of their positions after four events. The starts are arranged such that the time intervals correspond to the number of points separating the competitors. Thus, the finishing order in the run now corresponds exactly to the finishing order of the entire pentathlon, adding to the drama of the event. Beginning at the 1995 World Championships and the 1996 Olympics, the modern pentathlon was changed so that all the events are now contested in one day. Scoring was originally on a points-for-place system, with the lowest score winning, but the competition is now scored using tables for each of the four events.
Modern pentathlon was originally dominated by the Swedes. After World War II, the Hungarians and the Soviets became the top countries. As of 2022, the status quo is still maintained, with Hungary leading with 23 medals and nine golds, followed by Sweden, with 21 medals and nine golds, and the Soviet Union, with 15 medals and five golds. Pavel Lednyov, of the Soviet Union, leads the overall medal list, with seven, while Hungarian András Balczó is the only modern pentathlete with three gold medals.
A modern pentathlon event for women débuted on the Olympic Program at Sydney 2000, although a British girl, Helen Preece, had attempted to compete in the inaugural 1912 event. Lithuanian Laura Asadauskaitė leads the women’s competition, being the only female modern pentathlete with two medals, a gold and a silver.
Probably the most obscure sport on the Olympic Program, it has frequently been suggested to remove it from the schedule. Since 1992, it has seen the team event discontinued, the number of participants lowered, and the number of competition days reduced. In 2008, the sport announced that it would combine the cross-country running and shooting phases into one competition, similar to a dryland biathlon, and in 2010, it was announced that the air pistol would be replaced by laser pistols.
At Tokyo 2020 further controversy enveloped modern pentathlon. The leader going into the horse jumping was Annika Schleu, but modern pentathlon horses are randomly drawn, and her horse, Saint Boy, refused to jump at an obstacle, eventually costing her a medal and dropping her well down in the standings. Her coach, Kim Raisner, was irate and punched the horse, drawing criticism from animal rights activists.
The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM) responded by making plans to eliminate horse riding and tentatively replace it with an obstacle race, somewhat similar to the American television program, “American Ninja Warrior.” However, this move was protested by many of the top pentathletes. As of late 2022 a final decision on the new event(s) has not been made.
Modern pentathlon is governed by the UIPM, which was founded on 13 August 1948, and has 130 member nations as of 2022. Prior to 1948, modern pentathlon was administered directly by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). From 1953 on, biathlon and modern pentathlon were governed together, and the organization changed its name to the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne et Biathlon (UIPMB) in 1968. In 1993, the federation split into two separate groups to allow biathlon to act autonomously, but they stayed together as UIPMB until 1998. Since 20 August 1998, both sports are governed separately, with modern pentathlon returning to the UIPM, and the International Biathlon Union (IBU) governing biathlon.
|People's Republic of China||CHN||0||1||0||1|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||0||0||1||1|
|People's Republic of China||CHN||1||0||0||1|
|Republic of Korea||KOR||1||0||0||1|
|Pavel Lednyov|| RUS
|Igor Novikov|| ARM
|Anatoly Starostin|| RUS
|Maria Miguéis Teixeira||POR||1||0||0||1|
|Aleksandr Lifanov|| ROC
|Name||Gender||Still contested?||Times held?|