Pentathlon: The ‘other’ equestrian sport

So you dream of winning Olympic gold, but there are two problems: 1. Dressage is hard and 2. You’re not really into jumping higher than, say, 3’3″. Pentathlon could be the sport for you.

You’ve got the riding down already. Now all you have to learn to do is fence, swim, shoot and run.

Five fun facts about Pentathlon:

1. A young American Lieutenant, later to be a famous World War II General, George S. Patton, was to finish fifth in the first ever Modern Pentathlon competition. Today, both men and women compete in all five disciplines of the Modern Pentathlon in one day, with the first being at the 1993 World Championships in Darmstadt, Germany.
2. The order of the events is: Fencing, Swimming, Riding, Combined Event Run/Shoot.
3. Modern Pentathlon was invented by the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. The story goes that a young French cavalry officer was sent on horseback to deliver a message. To complete his mission, he had to ride, fence, shoot, swim and run – the five challenges that face competitors in Modern Pentathlon today.
4. Women competed in Modern Pentathlon at the Olympic Games for the first time at Sydney 2000, where Team Great Britain’s Stephanie Cook and Kate Allenby won gold and bronze.
5. Greek philosopher Aristotle described competitors in the Pentathlon of the ancient Games as the most ‘perfect sportsmen, because in their bodies strength and speed are combined in beautiful harmony’.

Intrigued? If you’re in the vicinity, check out the upcoming Modern Pentathlon Charlotte, a World Cup Series event taking place in Charlotte, NC, from March 8-11. More than 200 Olympic hopefuls from over 30 countries will be competing, vying for their tickets to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Learn more at their website here.

Top photo: CLT World Cup

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