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Modern pentathlon was invented by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, to simulate the experiences and skills of a 19th century cavalry officer. As such, this unique sport demands diverse talents of its competitors as it challenges them with fencing, swimming, equestrian, running and shooting events conducted over a single day.
Mexico’s men and the U.S.A women shared the podium when both received gold medals at the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara. Four remaining countries battled for silver and bronze.
The original pentathlon dates back to the ancient Olympic Games and was modelled after the skills of the ideal soldier of that time.
How it works
Modern pentathlon consists of five events conducted over a single day: fencing, swimming, equestrian, running and shooting. After the first three events (fencing, swimming, equestrian), the athletes’ total scores are converted into a time handicap to determine the starting order for the run/shoot segment. In this final leg, athletes shoot at targets with laser pistols after running several 1,000-metre stretches. The first across the finish line wins.
A thrusting sword used in fencing.
The stroke used in the swimming portion of the race — usually front crawl.