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Modern Pentathlon

Modern Pentathlon is an Olympic sport, comprising five events: 200 meters freestyle swimming, fencing, show jumping, and a combined event of pistol shooting and a 3200 meters cross-country run. The sport used to be held over five days, but in 1996 a more spectator-friendly one-day format was introduced. In 2021, it was announced that the horse riding event is to be replaced, with cycling mooted as a potential option.

The swimming component is a 200-meter freestyle race (previously it was 300 meters), with points based on the finishing time.

The fencing event uses the epee, usually in a round-robin format. Each match usually lasts around one minute. Every competitor faces everyone else, and the more hits you record on your opponents, the more points you earn.

The riding event involves show jumping over a 350 to 450-meter course through twelve to fifteen obstacles. The participants are paired with horses 20 minutes before the competition starts. Riders begin with 300 points and lose a point for every second over a prescribed time limit, and also for knocking over or refusing to jump a barrier.

Fencing is part of the modern pentathlonFencing is part of the modern pentathlon

The combined final event (called the laser run) was first held in 2009, in which participants run four 800m-meter laps, with each lap prefaced by hitting five targets with a pistol. The athletes resume running once they have had five successful hits (or after 50 seconds). Previously the shooting and running events were separate. Originally, the event involved three 1000-meter laps with each prefaced by laser shooting at five targets.

For the final event, each athlete starts at different times depending on how many points they have amassed, so that the winner is the first across the line.


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