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Modern Pentathlon


The pentathlon was the climax of the Games in Ancient Greece. Since its appearance at the modern Games, it has undergone a great deal of evolution.

The ancient disciplines

The ancient pentathlon consisted of running, jumping, spear-throwing, discus and wrestling. The pentathlon held a position of unique importance, with the winner ranked as “Victor Ludorum”.

The modern format

The modern pentathlon was introduced by Baron de Coubertin at the Stockholm Games in 1912, comprising pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running. It was his belief that this event would test “a man’s moral qualities as much as his physical resources and skills, producing thereby a complete athlete.”

From five to one

From 1912 to 1980, the Olympic modern pentathlon was held over five days with one event per day. Now, the event is held over one day. Competitors score points in the first three events, which decide their starting position for the final combined event, composed of the shooting and running disciplines. The first one over the line wins the gold medal.

Gathering crowds

The change to the current format held over one day has helped spectators to understand and connect with the sport, making it a more attractive spectacle.

Laser pistol

In 2010 during the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, athletes used a laser pistol instead of a traditional pellet-firing air gun for the combined event for the first time during an official international competition. Laser shooting was introduced for both safety reasons and to reduce the environmental impact of the lead bullets. It will see its debut at an Olympic Games in London 2012.

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Gallery

Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay

Ahmed Elgendy of Egypt in action during the Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay on Day 10 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Pentathlon & cross country courses, Youth Olympic Park on October 16, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay

Michelle Gulyas of Hungary in action during the Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay on Day 10 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Pentathlon & cross country courses, Youth Olympic Park on October 16, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay

Ahmed Elgendy of Egypt (left) and Franco Serrano of Argentina shake hands during the Modern Pentathlon - Mixed International Team Relay on Day 10 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Pentathlon & cross country courses, Youth Olympic Park on October 16, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Women’s Individual Event
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Women’s Individual Event

Emma Riff of France (left) in action against Michelle Gulyas of Hungary during the the Modern Pentathlon Women's Individual Fencing Bonus Round on Day 7 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Pentathlon & cross country, Youth Olympic Park on October 13, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Women’s Individual Event
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Buenos Aires 2018 - Modern Pentathlon - Women’s Individual Event

Salma Abdelmaksoud of Egypt during the the Modern Pentathlon Women's Individual Laser-Run on Day 7 of the Buenos Aires 2018 Youth Olympic Games at the Pentathlon & cross country, Youth Olympic Park on October 13, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
IOC/OIS
Modern Pentathlon - Men
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Modern Pentathlon - Men

Alexander Lesun of Russian Federation celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win gold in the Modern Pentathlon on Day 15 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Deodoro Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Getty Images
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