Modern pentathlon field wide open for Tokyo Olympics


HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO: First off, an explanation of the event. The modern pentathlon consists of fencing, freestyle swimming (200 meters), equestrian show jumping and a final combined event of laser shooting and cross-country running. In the final event, athletes complete four circuits shooting five targets from a distance of 10m within 50 seconds using a laser pistol, and running 800 meters. … It was first held at the 1912 Stockholm Games, with the women’s event added at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. … Aleksander Lesun of Russia won the gold medal, with Pavlo Tymoshchenko of Ukraine taking silver and Ismael Hernandez Uscanga of Mexico capturing bronze. The women’s podium went like this: Chloe Esposito of Australia, gold; Élodie Clouvel of France, silver and Oktawia Nowacka of Poland, bronze. A British female modern pentathlete has appeared on the medal stand in four of the five Olympics.

WHAT’S NEW: A big change will be that all five final disciplines take place at Tokyo Stadium. It includes the swimming portion in a temporary pool and riding competition on the same field where soccer will be held.

TOKYO EXPECTATIONS: Lesun and Esposito won’t be defending their Olympic titles. Lesun missed some key qualifying competitions. Esposito had a son last July. It sets the stage for a wide open competition.

ATHLETES TO WATCH: Anastasiya Prokopenko of Belarus. In 2018, the 35-year-old was upgraded to the bronze medal from the Beijing Games when Viktoriya Tereshchuk of Ukraine was disqualified for doping. British athlete Kate French figures to also be in the mix. She was fifth at the Rio Games. Michelle Gulyas of Hungary is the top-ranked competitor. On the men’s side, Valentin Belaud of France is a two-time individual world champion (’16 and ’19). His French teammate, Valentin Prades, chases after gold after finishing fourth in Rio. Adam Marosi of Hungary captured his second world title last month — 12 years after winning his first. Marosi, who turns 37 on July 25, earned bronze at the 2012 London Games. Keep a close watch on Jun Woongtae of South Korea and Britain’s Joe Choong, who earned silver at worlds in 2019.

GOLD MEDAL MOMENT(S): Women’s final on Aug. 6; men’s final on Aug. 7.

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