Olympic modern pentathlon at Tokyo 2020: Top five things to know

Who are the modern pentathletes at Tokyo 2020 in 2021? When and where will Olympic modern pentathlon take place? What is the Olympic history of modern pentathlon? Find out here.

By Sven Busch
Picture by 2016 Getty Images

Modern pentathlon holds a very special place in Olympic history as the sport was created by the founder of the modern Games, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.

But who are the ones to watch at the Tokyo Games? When will competition take place, and where will it be held? Here is our guide to the top things to know about Olympic modern pentathlon.

Top Olympic modern pentathletes at Tokyo 2020

Rio champions Aleksander Lesun and Chloe Esposito are hoping to repeat their but they are facing strong opposition.

France's 2019 world champion Valentin Belaud and his partner, Rio silver medallist Elodie Clouvel are hoping for a golden moment in the Japanese capital. GB's Joe Choong, who took silver at the 2019 worlds has also declared that this mission is to take home gold.

Olympic modern pentathlon schedule at Tokyo 2020

The competition will take place from 5 to 7 August 2021, with the women's and men's fencing round robin being scheduled for 5 August.

The medals are awarded on 6 August for the women and one day later for the men.

Olympic modern pentathlon venue at Tokyo 2020

The modern pentathlon competition at the 2020 Olympics will take place at Musashino Forest Sports Plaza and Tokyo Stadium.

Olympic modern pentathlon competition format at Tokyo 2020

There will be 36 athletes competing in both the men's and women's events.

Modern pentathlon consists of five events: pistol shooting, épée fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3200m cross-country run.

Fencing, swimming and show jumping are the first three events, and they are scored on points. The points will then be converted into a time handicap for the final challenge which is a combined event (pistol shooting and cross-country running).

The points leader gets to start first. The time advantage over his rivals depends on how many points behind the leader they were after the first three events.

The finish order of the run determines the medal winners.

As at previous Games the fencing part consists of two rounds, a traditional round-robin stage, plus a "bonus round".

The swimming portion will be scored based on time.

The athletes are then being asked to ride an unfamiliar horse over a show jumping course with 12 obstacles before the combined event determines the medals. .

Olympic Modern Pentathlon history

Modern Pentathlon is an event especially created for the Olympic Games by de Coubertin. It was first contested at the Games in 1912 and has been part of the program ever since. The pentathlon event in the Ancient Olympic Games, modelled after the skills of the ideal soldier at the time, served as inspiration for de Coubertin.

Originally, the competition took place over several days until a one-day format was adopted in 1996 in order to showcase in a more audience-friendly way.

Hungary's Andras Balczo remains the most decorated modern pentathlete in Olympic history with five medals. He competed at the 1960, 1968 and 1972 Olympics and took home three gold and two silver medals.


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