Modern Pentathlon/Olympic sport disciplineEVENTS
- Men's Individual
- Men's Team
- Women's Individual
- Women's Team
- Mixed Relay
From Krakow to Paris
At the European Games Krakow – Malopolska 2023, 80 men and women will each compete in the modern pentathlon, which includes horse riding, sword fencing, swimming, laser pistol shooting and cross-country running. At stake, in addition to places at the European Games, are the European Championship medals. The competition in Krakow will be a simultaneous battle for qualification for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The eight best ladies and eight men will win nominations.
The competition will take place at the facilities of the Bronisław Czech University of Physical Education in Kraków. The school’s patron was a versatile athlete who could probably also have done well in the pentathlon, but he happened to be the king of winter sports. As a skier, he took part in the Olympic Games three times (1928, 1932 and 1936), and was also a mountaineer, mountain rescuer and glider pilot. He died during the Second World War as a prisoner of the German concentration camp in Auschwitz.
Just like soldiers
The modern pentathlon was developed by the founder of the modern Olympic movement, Pierre de Coubertin, and made its debut at the Olympic Games as early as 1912. The idea originated from a 19th century legend, according to which a young French cavalry officer was sent to deliver a message. To reach his destination, he had to ride on horseback, fight with white and firearms, swim and run. The modern pentathlon thus simulates the adventures of a soldier who found himself behind enemy lines. In reference to this story, athletes to this day draw the horse on which they will ride in the competition.
What does the competition look like? They begin with preliminaries held in four competitions (without riding). Eighteen athletes each compete in the semi-finals (A and B) and finals. In the finals, the competition begins with horsemanship. Athletes have 20 minutes to get acquainted with their horse then set off on a course with twelve obstacles. This is followed by a round of fencing in a knockout system – the lowest ranked athletes start and the winner remains on the board. The next competition is a 200-metre freestyle swim, and the final stage is a 3,000-metre cross-country run combined with laser pistol shooting. Competitors have to run five 600-metre distances punctuated by four sessions of shooting at a distance of 10 metres.