CoEden Modern Pentathlon Association is affiliated to the UIPM (Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne) and SAMPA (South African Modern Pentathlon).
Modern Pentathlon originated in France during the mid-1800’s, this was used as a test to determine the skills of the King’s messengers, the messenger usually carried valuable/sensitive information that needed to be delivered against all odds.
A messenger needed to be able to be an expert horseman, skilled fencer, a good shot, a strong swimmer to cross rivers and an excellent runner if he needed to leave his horse behind.
Modern Pentathlon is divided into different codes, building to ultimately compete in all 5 disciplines :-
1. Laser-Run : Continuous Combination of “run-shoot-run”
2. Biathle : Continuous Combination of “run-swim-run”
3. Triathle : Continuous Combination of “run-shoot-swim”
4. Tetrathlon: Continuous Combination of “run-shoot, swim & fencing”
5. Pentathlon : Continuous Combination of “run-shoot, swim, fencing & show jumping”
The sport has progressed and so has the equipment eg. In modern day competition, laser pistols are used for the shooting discipline as opposed to conventional weapons.
The segments of Laser-Run, Biathle & Triathle are continuous competitions over different distances according to age groups, even the seasoned athletes find this to be an extreme, challenging and tough sport!
Modern Pentathlon was introduced at the 5th Olympiad in Stockholm (SWE) 1912, comprising the contemporary sports of pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running, which embraced the spirit of its ancient counterpart.
It was De Coubertin’s belief that it would be this event, above all others, that “tested a man’s moral qualities as much as his physical resources and skills, producing thereby the ideal, complete athlete.”
This new sport was enthusiastically adopted with its inherent demands of courage, co-ordination, physical fitness, self-discipline and flexibility in ever changing circumstances. A young American Lieutenant, later to be the famous World War II General, George S. Patton, was to finish fifth in the first ever Olympic Modern Pentathlon competition. The mixture of physical and mental skills demanded in the Pentathlon has also meant that athletes have been able to compete in as many as three or four Olympic Games. This is because while running and swimming times can be expected to decline with age, experience and skill in the technical disciplines often increase.
The oldest Olympic gold medallist (in the team event) in the Modern Pentathlon to date is Pavel Lednev (former USSR) who was 37 years old at the 1980 Games in Moscow. In the same Olympic Games the individual gold medallist (former USSR) Anatoly Starostin was 20. Today, both men and women compete in all five events of the Modern Pentathlon in one day. A points system for each event is based on a standard performance earning 1000 points. The star of the last event is by Handicap Start; in this way the winner of the competition is the first athlete to cross the finishing line.