5 facts that prove modern pentathlon is the most interesting sport at the Olympics


What's your favourite sport at the Olympics? After reading this, it will definitely be modern pentathlon.

As Rio draws ever closer, we're taking a look at each of the Olympic sports in turn. This week, it's the turn of the sport made up of five other sports: fencing, swimming, running, shooting and show jumping.

1. Modern Pentathlon was supposedly contrived by Baron Pierre de Coubertin - the father of the modern Olympic Games - to simulate the actions of a cavalry officer behind enemy lines.

He would see off the enemy in a sword-fight, swim to safety, run, shoot, then ride to freedom on a random horse. However, modern pentathlon historian Andy Archibald shattered that illusion in 2012, telling the New York Times: "That's nonsense, really. His selection of sports was quite random."

2. Who knows what De Coubertin would have made of Hungary's former world champion and 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Adam Marosi. It is hard to imagine the shy, bespectacled youngster battling behind enemy lines.

Adam Marosi shows off his bronze medal

"I like to read books, have fun with my Playstation, drive a car, and play with my dog, and, ah yes, I love listening to music, especially the AC/DC," Marosi declared valiantly.

3. Okay, we're hardly talking Bill Werbeniuk levels here, but modern pentathlon became a little bit sexier when Han-Gunnar Liljenwall was thrown out of the 1968 Games for boozing.

Two delicious cold beers

The Swede admitted having "two cold beers" to calm his nerves before the pistol shooting event, and subsequently became the first athlete to thrown out of a Games due to drug use. The whole Swedish team had to return their gold medals as a result.

4. After one of the most notorious cases of Olympic cheating, the Soviet Union's reigning Olympic champion Boris Onishchenko was thrown out of the 1976 Games.

It was discovered he had illegally modified his sword in order that the electronic scoring system could register a score without him actually having hit anything. He was thrown out of the team, hauled before Leonid Brezhnev for a dressing-down, and returned to his home city of Kiev, where he became a taxi driver.

5. One of the most bizarre aspects of modern pentathlon is the equestrian element, which must be contested on a horse which is only presented to the athlete 20 minutes before the event.

Donna Vakalis competes in the show jumping event of the modern pentathlon
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

Canada's Donna Vakalis explained: "I've never gone on a speed-date, but I imagine you need to do the same thing - to really figure out what the horse's personality is. You are not there to fix them."