Kind of sport
Five completely different kinds of sports make-up the modern pentathlon. The events have nothing to do /nothing in common with the athletics pentathlon. At the turn of the century, the idea of a modern pentathlon was formed in the mind of a Swedish officier. He thought of a military exercise which entailed a soldier receiving an assignment to deliver some news. The soldier begins on an unfamiliar horse, but only after a few kilometres he is forced to dismount and duel with swords. He escapes and has to shoot a way out for himself. Afterwards, he swims across a river and then he must run the last few kilometres over difficult terrain. Anyway, the modern pentathlon consists of the following events: equestrian steeplechasing, fencing, shooting, swimming and cross-country running. The first day is for the equestrian event. The course is a thousand metres long and has twenty obstacles all of them at various degrees of difficulty. The horses are made available by the organisation. Twenty minutes before the competition commences, the participant may ride the horse briefly in order to become aquainted with its qualities. The second day consists of sword-play. Every contest lasts for three minutes and is decided by a hit. Each particpant confronts the others and what ever happens, there will twenty duels. On the third day shooting at a distance of twenty-five metres, either with a revolver or a pistol at moving silhouette targets, is the order of the day. The participants have to fire off four series of five shots. The fourth day is swimming. With this event, the unusual distance of 300 metres must be swum. Although the choice of the stroke is up to the participant, the freestyle is nowadays the preferred stroke. On the fifth day, the competition ends with the cross-country run. the course is four kilometres long and has a difference of altitude between 60 to 100 metres with variable terrain. Between 1912 and 1952 obtaining points was based on the position of the participant in each of the five events. But since 1956, a scoring system has been used which is fixed on a thousand point norm. Those who are above the norm receive additional points and those who fall short are docked some points. In 1996, this combined event has medals up for grabs, only on an individual basis.
The modern pentathlon is a particularly stringent all-round test, which makes extreme demands on the stamina and of course on the adaptability of the pentathlete.