A - Atlanta
At the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games modern pentathlon became a one-day sport having previously taken place over four or five days. It was also moved from the first event of the Olympic Games to the final one.
B – BALCZO, Andras
Andras BALCZO (HUN) is the most successful modern pentathlete with five individual world championship titles and an Olympic individual gold medal from Munich in 1972.
C – combined event
The combined event is making its Olympic debut in London. Previously the running and shooting were two separate events but they were combined in 2009.
D – DE COUBERTIN, Pierre
Modern pentathlon was invented as the ultimate physical and mental test of an Olympic athlete by Baron Pierre DE COUBERTIN in 1912.
E – epee
Epee is the weapon that is used in the fencing discipline.
F – freestyle
Freestyle is the stroke which is used for the 200m swimming event.
G – Great Britain
Great Britain is the only nation to have been represented in the modern pentathlon at all 23 Olympic Games so far (including London 2012).
H – handicap
The athletes receive a handicapped start for the combined event based on their points total in the first three disciplines. This ensures the first person to cross the finish line wins the gold medal.
I – individual
Modern pentathlon in the Olympics has been an individual sport since the team competition was abolished after Barcelona in 1992.
J – jumping
Modern pentathletes must negotiate a 12-fence jumping course on a horse unfamiliar to them. They have had just 20 minutes and five practice fences to ride before going into the ring.
K – Republic of Korea
Republic of Korea has never won an Olympic medal in modern pentathlon but they will have high hopes at London 2012. Their two male athletes are Woojin HWANG (KOR), who finished second at the world cup final earlier this year, and Jinhwa JUNG (KOR), who took the bronze medal at the world championships in May.
L – laser shooting
Laser shooting will make its Olympic debut at London 2012. It was first used at the Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and is a more environmentally friendly and safer option than air pistols.
M – MEDANY, Aya
Aya MEDANY (EGY) is the youngest ever modern pentathlete at the Olympic Games. She was only 15 when she made her Olympic debut at Athens in 2004. She is contesting her third Olympic Games in London, aged 23.
N – Natalya COYLE
Natalya COYLE (IRL) is Ireland's first women modern pentathlete to qualify for the Olympic Games. She carried the Olympic torch when it travelled through Dublin.
O – Olympiad
The pentathlon, which consisted of running the length of the stadium, long jump, throwing a spear, throwing a discus and wrestling, was introduced for the first time at the 18th Olympiad in 708 BC.
P – points
Athletes are awarded points based on their performance in the first three disciplines which are then converted into a time handicap for the combined event.
Q – qualification
The qualification period for the Olympic Games ended on 31 May 2012.
R – RUBLEVSKA, Elena
Elena RUBLEVSKA (LAT) is the only woman to have competed in the modern pentathlon at four Olympic Games.
S – Sydney
Women made their modern pentathlon Olympic debut at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
T – TAORMINA, Sheila
Sheila TAORMINA (USA) competed at four Olympic Games in three different sports: 1996 – swimming, 2000 and 2004 – triathlon, 2008 - modern pentathlon.
U – Union International de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM)
UIPM is the international governing body of modern pentathlon.
V – VEGA, Tamara
At 19 years old Tamara VEGA (MEX) is the youngest modern pentathlete to compete at London 2012.
W - world cup
Each year modern pentathletes contest between four and six world cup competitions, culminating in a world cup final where the best 32 athletes participate. The athletes qualify for the final via a league table constructed from their three best world cup competitions.
X – x marks the spot
Modern pentathletes must hit the target in the shooting five times before they can continue with the running phase of the combined event. They must do this three times.
Y – YAGORASHVILI, Vaho
Vaho YAGORASHVILI competed in modern pentathlon at three Olympic Games representing three different countries – USSR in 1988, Georgia in 1996 and USA in 2004.
Z – ZADNEPROVSKIS, Andrejus
Andrejus ZADNEPROVSKIS (LTU) is a two-time Olympic medallist and two-time world champion modern pentathlete who is married to world No.1 Laura ASADAUSKAITE (LTU).