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Pentathlon at Olympics

Pentathlon is a sport which was played both in the ancient and modern period. Distinctive in nature, the event of both the periods derives its name from the Greek language, which means "five competitions".

Ancient Pentathlon

The ancient pentathlon was quite different to the modern pentathlon. It hosted five events, which included stadion (a short foot race), wrestling, long jump, javelin throw and discus throw. The participants of the event, called the Pentathletes, were considered to be the most skilled athletes. The training of these athletes was a part of the military training as all the five events were considered to be of prime importance for battles.

In the ancient pentathlon, the participants wore fewer clothes and the games rules were also distinct from the modern. If any athlete won the long jump, discus throw, and javelin throw events, the stadion and wresting events were not held.

Modern Pentathlon

The modern Pentathlon is a sports event consisting of epee fencing, pistol shooting, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping course on horseback and a cross-country run. The modern pentathlon was introduced by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who had founded the modern Summer Games.

The modern pentathlon was introduced to the Olympics in the year 1912. The participation of the women in the pentathlon was seen in the year 2000. Initially the pentathlon was hosted for a period of five to six days but in 2000 a one day format was introduced to enhance its commercial image.

Due to lack of publicity and participation in the pentathlon, the management authority of the Summer Games had proposed its dismissal. However, with the vote of the International Olympic Committee, the game has been retained till the London Olympics 2012.

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