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Russia's Lesun started the competition by setting an Olympic record in the fencing phase and held his lead to take gold, making up for a disappointing fourth-place finish in London four years ago. He crossed the combined shooting/running finish line seven seconds ahead of silver-medallist Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine, scoring an Olympic record of 1479 points overall. Mexico's Uscanga Hernandez took bronze.
“I’ve set records in fencing before — after that I was just doing my job," said the 28-year-old Lesun, who enjoyed a nine-second lead going into the running and shooting phase. “I was really upset after London 2012 but I tried to calm down and that was the main thing.”
“I came here for a medal. There was some pressure because last year I achieved my best result by winning the world title. I wanted to repeat that in an Olympic Games," said silver medalist Tymoshchenko, who jumped from eighth to finish second after the final shooting and running event.
Hernandez, who held off opponents by just two seconds in the final metres of the race to win a medal, described the race to finish line: “My entire life passed in front of my eyes. Those times I have failed, the victories I had — everything that I went through along these years to not let this chance get away. I had two things in mind. The first was that it would be the competition of my life and second that I could get an historical result for Mexico. I knew I had nothing to lose, and too much to win.”
The medals were a first for Mexico and Ukraine in Olympic modern pentathlon. It was Russia's fourth gold medal in the sport in the past five Olympic Games. Since 2000, Russian athletes only failed to clinch the title in the men’s modern pentathlon event in London 2012.