Olympics
Do you have the physique and stamina to fence, swim, ride or run and shoot like a pentathlete? Read this article to know about the rules and regulations of Modern Pentathlon.

Modern Pentathlon

An aggregation of five disciplines - Modern Pentathlon is one of the most electrifying sports hosted in Olympics. At London Olympics 2012, Modern Pentathlon will be held at: Copper Box - Olympic Park (fencing); Aquatics Centre - Olympic Park (swimming); and Greenwich Park (riding, combined run/shoot event). The sport is scheduled from Saturday 11 August till Sunday 12 August 2012. Seventy-two athletes (36 men, 36 women) will compete in two medal events. The first sport in Modern Pentathlon is "Fencing", for which athletes are required to fence against every other athlete. Fencing is then trailed by "Swimming" (200m freestyle) and "Riding" (jumping over a 12-jump course). After the first three elements, the athletes' total scores are converted into a time handicap. The handicap figures out the starting times for the combined "Run/Shoot" element, for which athletes are required to shoot at sets of five targets after running several stretches of 1,000m. The winner of the competition is the one who crosses the finish line first!

Modern Pentathlon Rules And Regulations

Fencing - It is an indoor sport performed on special aluminum corridors (pistes) that extends 18 meters (59 feet) in length and between 1.5 and 2 meters (Approx. 5 to 6 1/2 feet) in width. Using an electrical blade called an "Epee", the athletes skillfully fence against each one of their competitors once, in a bout, which lasts a maximum of one minute and finishes at the first touch. A bout where there is no touch is considered a defeat for both athletes and in such a case both athletes are penalized with one touch-hit each.

Swimming - Swimming takes place in either an indoor or outdoor Olympic swimming pool that stretches 50 meters (164 feet) in length. The race is a 200-meter (656 feet) freestyle race set to the clock. Athletes can choose any swimming style they want but they are not allowed to alter that style once the race has begun. Men need a time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds and the women a time of 2 minutes and 40 seconds to earn 1,000 points.

Riding - In the riding event in Modern Pentathlon, the horse and rider jumps over the obstacles that have a maximum height of 1.20 meters (Approx. 4 feet). The obstacle course is between 350 to 450 meters (1148 -1476 feet) in length, and involves 12 hurdles (15 jumps) including at least one double and one triple jump. Athletes compete on unknown horses that will be provided to them by the organizers by a random draw just 20 minutes before starting the event. Before the competition starts, for 20 minutes the riders are permitted to ride their respective horses and take up to five jumps. This helps the rider to get a little familiar with the horse.

Cross Country Running - The cross-country race is run on coarse ground and / or on public roads over a distance of 3 kilometers (3,000 meters, 9843 Feet) for both men and women. If men competitors finish the course within 10 minutes and zero seconds and women in 11 minutes and 20 seconds, this will add 1,000 points to the athletes overall score. The athlete with the highest score after the first four events will start the race. The other competitors will start at intervals depending on the number of points they have so that the differences in their point standings are converted into different starting times.

Shooting - The shooting event will be held in an indoor shooting range; the athlete will use a 4.5mm caliber air-pistol and shoot at a fixed target, at an expansion of 10-meters (32 feet). The shooters will have a total of 20 rounds to fire and they will have a maximum time limit of 40 seconds allowed between each shot. The scores for each shot will be awarded out of ten.

Modern Pentathlon History
Modern Pentathlon, which was originated in Greece, is as legendary as the 19th-century! It is said that a young French officer was sent on horseback to deliver a message. He couldn't complete his errand just by horse riding. He had to ride, fence, shoot, swim and run to deliver the message. Thus, the sport of Modern Pentathlon was born. Even the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle proclaimed the beauty and vitality of this sport. 100 years ago, Modern Pentathlon was included in Olympics at Stockholm Games of 1912. The first sportsman to participate in the first Olympic Modern Pentathlon at Stockholm 1912 Games was "George S Patton", who later became General of the US Army. Until Atlanta 1996, the Modern Pentathlon competition was spread over four-five days. Women first participated in Modern Pentathlon at the Olympic Games Sydney 2000, where Team GB's Stephanie Cook and Kate Allenby won gold and bronze respectively.