Pentathlon at the Olympics: GB team, rules and the five events explained

Here's all you need to know about the Team GB modern pentathletes looking to win gold at Tokyo 2020, plus the rules and events explained.

Pentathlon Olympics guide

Most Olympic athletes dedicate their entire lives to perfecting their craft in their chosen sport, but modern pentathletes are something else.

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They have the unenviable task of training in five different disciplines as they compete to win points in each event to emerge as the ultimate all-round sportsperson.

The pentathlon event dates right back to the ancient Olympic Games in 708BC, which consisted of discus throw, javelin, long jump, the stadium-length race and wrestling.

Times have changed though and the modern pentathlon has since adapted its events.

RadioTimes.com has broken down everything you need to know about the pentathlon for the Olympics 2020, from which events are involved to how many Team GB athletes are competing. Plus, find out what to watch with our guide to the Olympics on TV today.

When is pentathlon at the Olympics?

Pentathlon begins on Thursday 5th August with the women’s individual event concluding on Friday 6th and the men’s coming to a close on Saturday 7th.

Check out our guide on how to watch Olympics 2020 or see Olympics on TV today for more details, timings, and exclusive expert analysis from some of the biggest names in world sport over the coming weeks.

Sir Chris Hoy, Beth Tweddle, Rebecca Adlington, Matthew Pinsent and Dame Jess Ennis-Hill are among the stars we have to being their esteemed opinions, so don’t miss what they have to say.

Find out how you can watch the Tokyo 2020 Olympics closing ceremony.

What five sports are in pentathlon?

The five sports that make up the modern pentathlon are: fencing, swimming, riding, shooting and running.

This is broken down into fencing (one-touch épée), freestyle swimming (200m), equestrian show jumping (15 jumps), and a final event of pistol shooting and cross country running (3,200m).

The latter two are combined in the final event of the competition.

Pentathlon Olympic rules

Athletes win points based on their performance in each event and scores are combined to give the overall total.

The performance of an athlete in the first three events (fencing, swimming, riding) will dictate their starting position for the shooting/racing combination event at the end.

The athletes with the most points after three events will start the final combined event ahead of those with lower points and ultimately have an advantage.

The athlete who crosses the finish line first in the final run is declared the overall winner of the entire competition.

The modern pentathlon takes place between August 5th and August 7th.

Which Team GB athletes will compete in Olympic pentathlon?

Team GB will have four representatives; two competing in the men’s event and two in the women’s.

Joseph Choong

Choong finished 10th at his Olympics debut in Rio and heads into Tokyo as the world number 17.

James Cooke

Cooke also made his debut in Rio and despite failing to medal, he set a new Olympic modern pentathlon swim record with a time of 1:55:60.

Kate French

French will be looking to go a step further than her fifth-placed finish in Rio and goes into the Games off the back of a brilliant 2021 season which has seen her win three international medals and set a new women’s world record in the fencing discipline.

Joanna Muir

The Scottish-born athlete is number one on the World Cup ranking list this year ahead of making her Olympics debut this summer.

Read more – check out our comprehensive guides to the Olympic sports: Archery | Cycling | Field Hockey | Gymnastics | Rowing | Skateboarding | Taekwondo | Water Polo

Radio Times Olympics Special issue is on sale now.

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