It is easy to conclude that Modern Pentathlon is in the heart of Olympism and should be one of its most important roots, a part of the Olympic culture and legacy.
Modern Pentathlon is an educational sport. This was the primary wish of its creator, Pierre de Coubertin. A complete sport, on the physical side - Swimming & Running are the basic disciplines; on the mental side – Shooting requires stress control and a precise technique; on the intellectual side – Fencing requires adaptability and intelligence; Riding an unknown horse requires a mix of adaptability, self-control and courage.
The Pentathlon’s current “One Day” format with a very exciting final handicap run has resulted in a better understanding on the part of spectators. In Sydney the Pentathlon competition was held in a full stadium (the Olympic Baseball Stadium was used for the Pentathlon competition) in both the men’s and women’s events and had more spectators (15,000) than the Cuba - USA baseball gold medal baseball match.
In the past several Olympics and in Athens 2004, Modern Pentathlon consistently sells out all its tickets, and it normally is one of the first sports to sell out all of its tickets. Some of the reasons for this success can be read in the independent survey which was made at Games time and published in the Olympic Review June-July 2002, among them:
Modern Pentathlon is present in more than 90 National federations throughout the five continents. During the past years the number of countries and continents achieving medals at World Championships has dramatically increased.
Modern Pentathlon is already included in Regional Games such as Asian Games, Pan American Games, Central American and Caribbean Games. As membership continues to grow, plans are to be included also in Balkan Games, Mediterranean Games, etc.
The sport of Modern Pentathlon does not require any extra facilities for our sport in the Olympic or other regional games. Modern Pentathlon is a sport that adapts very well to existing facilities, which means it is a sport that does not require major investments on the part of the organisers. Following the example of Sydney, no specific venue should be created for Modern Pentathlon in the future. A well-thought use of the venues at Games time allows the Organiser to organise the Pentathlon when the other sports are finished, or before they start, which in fact brings an additional value to the venues.
The 2 days of Modern Pentathlon require the use of a standardized sport hall for shooting and fencing combined, of the Olympic Swimming pool twice for one hour, and of an open grass area for the riding and running events, these three venues being at walking distance from each other. This is a challenge that all modern Olympic bidders can easily achieve without unreasonable or excessive cost. The question of temporary stables for the horses can be answered easily. Regarding the horses themselves, the UIPM can be of great help in assisting the organiser to find the appropriate ones, as it did for Sydney.
An Olympic Sport with reasonable number of athletes - the best pentathletes in the world
The IOC has made several historic decisions for our sport over the past few years. The women were included for the first time in the year 2000 and our numbers have gone from 32 men in 1996 to 48 (24 men & 24 women) in 2000. Less than a year ago, IOC President Rogge showed his support to Modern Pentathlon by increasing its quota from 48 to 64 athletes. These have been very positive signals for our sport from the IOC.
Only 32 women and 32 men, a total of 64 athletes (in fact around 0.5% of the total athletes number) competing for only 2 medals, which means that Modern Pentathlon, as one of the 28 Sports of the Olympic Programme, has a very limited impact on the overall number of athletes at the Games. Remark: the average number of athletes for the other sports is (10500 - 64) /27 = 386.
In fact, at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, Modern Pentathlon had the highest ratio of NOC representation with respect to its quota out of all the Sports. The 48 athletes who took part in the Men's and Women's competition represented 24 NOCs - a ratio of 50% - spread across the five continents.
Since the One Day Format has been created and due to the permanent efforts of the UIPM, Modern Pentathlon has become drug-free sport. The One-Day format has discouraged prohibited behaviors as there is no interest in using drugs for shooting when fencing comes right after it. Anabolic substances are not useful in a sport that does not place the success of the winner only on his physical skills, but in his overall physical and intellectual harmony.
Modern Pentathlon has been televised consistently throughout the entire world on both national and international channels, particularly since the new One-Day Format was created. Our competitions are covered in detail also by both written and electronic (web) media in many countries and reports and results of our World Championships appear in some of the most highly regarded national newspapers. National Sports Journalists Associations have voted Pentathletes 'Athletes of the Year' in the past.
Modern Pentathlon is a true representation of the Olympic Movement. The 5 Olympic rings are reflected in Modern Pentathlon's 5 events and participation from all 5 continents. It is a true sport of the Olympic Games, created by the founder of the Modern Games Pierre de Coubertin and reflecting the ideals embodied by the Olympic Movement. It has to remain an indefatigable part of it.