NW Pentathlon is made up of an informal community of pentathlon athletes and enthusiasts to promote and support the sport of modern pentathlon. As of 2014, the group has not organized as a nonprofit but this may pursued in the future. In the mean time, this website and blog serve as the information hub for modern pentathlon in the Pacific northwest.
About Modern Pentathlon
Modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport that combines five events: fencing, swimming, show jumping, shooting, and running. The sport has been part of the modern Olympic Games since its inception in 1912. The original pentathlon of the ancient Olympic Games included running, wrestling, long jump, javelin, and discus. Similar to the ancient pentathlon which were a test of a true warrior athlete, Baron de Coubertin created the modern Pentathlon to simulate the experience of a soldier during the Napoleonic period taking a message off the battlefield that had to ride an unfamiliar horse, fight with sword and pistol, swim across a river, and run.
In pentathlon, competitors gain points for their performance in each event and scores are combined to give the overall total.
The fencing (épée) event is a round robin event in which competitors have one minute to score a touch thus receiving either a victory or a defeat. Double touches are not counted and if no touch is landed, both athletes receive a defeat. At the end of the event, victories and defeats are tallied and points given based on performance with the individual with the most victories receiving the most points.
The swim event is a 200m freestyle with heats based on expected swim times.
The riding event (show jumping) requires athletes to draw for their horse and after a 20 minute practice time, jump over a course with 12 to 15 obstacles. Since the rider and horse have had no contact previously, it is a true test of the rider's skills.
Since 2009, the last event has been a combined event that integrates running and shooting with additional modifications made in 2013. Prior to the last event, competitors are ranked according to their score from the first three events and given handicapped starting times accordingly. The leader starts the run and other athletes start a period of time after the leader based on their points. Thus, an athlete that is 200 points behind the leader might start 20 seconds after the leader. The athletes then run four 800m laps in between which they have 50 seconds to shoot five targets 10m away with a laser pistol before starting the next lap.
The first athlete to cross the finish line at the end is the winner of the entire event.