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Learn More About Modern Pentathlon

New to Sports/Terms to Know: Modern Pentathlon

What is the history of the modern pentathlon?

The pentathlon was invented in ancient Greece, where individuals took place in a contest of five events. These five events included a foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin, and discus throwing. At the time, these events were chosen to closely resemble activities taking place in battles and the winner of the pentathlon was regarded as a capable soldier.

The modern pentathlon was started at the Stockholm Games by Baron de Coubertin. In its 1912 introduction, it was comprised of five events: pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding, and running. Upon building the modern pentathlon, Baron de Coubertin claimed that it tested a man’s moral and physical qualities.

The modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games

The modern pentathlon was introduced in the 1912 Olympics. From the 1912 Olympics to the 1980 Olympics, the modern pentathlon was held over a five day period, with one event taking place per day. Following the 1980 Olympic Games, the competition was condensed into a one-day event to encourage spectators to engage and connect with the sport.

In the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, competitors were mandated to use laser pistols instead of traditional pistols. This change was introduced to increase safety and to decrease the environmental consequences caused by lead bullets.

What are the current Olympic modern pentathlon events?

There are currently two modern pentathlon events: individual competition men and individual competition women.

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