2012 London Primer: Modern Pentathlon
So what is a pentathlon? The modern pentathlon consists of five events all on one day: fencing, swimming, equestrian, and a combined event of shooting and running. These events are meant to simulate a possible messenger mission for a soldier at war. The contestants are scored out of 1,000 for all the events, except horse-riding which is out of 1,200. The first pentathlons date back to the Greek and Roman empires where its purpose was to create the most complete athlete possible.
The fencing event: Each competitor faces the other 35 contestants in the epee discipline. Combats take place over one minute with the winner earning points toward their possible 1,000 point total.
The swimming event: A 200 meter freestyle race (4 lengths of the pool) with a regulation time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds for the men’s event and 2 minutes and 40 seconds for women. Each second over or under contributes to the competitors point total.
The equestrian event: There are 12 obstacles along a 383 to 492 yard course in which each competitor starts with 1200 points. Knocking down a bar results in a 20 point deduction, a refusal -40 points, a fall -60 points and each second over the time limit -4 points.
The shooting/running event: After the first three events are completed, the leader of the pack starts a 3000 meter run. The other competitors start in accordance to their position on the leader board. Along the way the competitors encounter three shooting sequences. The first to cross the line wins.
Names to watch: 2008 Olympic world champion, Lena Schoneborn, who hails from Germany. Young Australian pentathlete, Chloe Esposito, is ready to become a star. Maryland native Suzanne Stettinius delayed getting a job for a chance at a medal in the modern pentathlon in the Olympics.