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The Pentathlon consisting of running the length of the stadium, 192.27 meters, the long jump, throwing the spear, throwing the discus and wrestling, was introduced for the first time at the 18th Olympiad in 708 BC and held a position of unique importance in the Games. It was considered to be the climax, with the winner ranked as “Victor Ludorum.” A reincarnation of the demanding sport was brought about centuries later in 1912 at the 5th Olympiad in Stockholm, comprising the contemporary sports of pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, horse riding and running.

Until 1980, the Olympic Modern Pentathlon competition was held over five days with one event per day. Between 1984 and 1992, the competition was held over four days with either running and shooting or swimming and shooting on the same day. For the Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996, the competition was a one-day event in which 32 men who qualified via pre-Olympic competitions participated. In 1998, the UIPM received approval for women to compete in the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and so 24 men and 24 women competed in the individual competition. For the first time in history, the Pentathlon venues were 96% sold out.

The points system for each event is based on a standard performance earning 1000 points. The start of the Combined Event (run-shoot) is by Handicap Start; in this way the winner of the competition is the first athlete to cross the finishing line. Laser shooting was implemented at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010. The 100-year anniversary of Modern Pentathlon will be celebrated in 2012 in Stockholm, Sweden where it all began.

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