(Reuters) – Focus on modern pentathlon at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics:
THE ABSOLUTE BASICS
* Modern pentathlon consists of five events: pistol shooting, epee fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show jumping, and a 3,200m cross-country run.
* Fencing, swimming and show jumping are the first three events, and they are scored on points. Those points are converted into a time handicap for the final combined event comprised of pistol shooting and cross-country running.
* The first athlete over the finish line wins gold.
HOW MANY MEDALS?
There are two sets of medals, one for men and women.
WHERE IS IT HAPPENING?
Musashino Forest Sport Plaza, the first new permanent venue built for the Games, will be the site for fencing ranking round. Tokyo Stadium will be the venue for swimming, show jumping, fencing bonus round and laser-run competitions.
WHEN IS IT HAPPENING?
The women’s competition will be held Aug. 5-6 and the men’s Aug. 5 and Aug. 7.
WHAT HAPPENED IN RIO?
At the Rio Games six podium positions were occupied by six different nations. Chloe Esposito overcame a 45 second handicap entering the combined shoot-running competition to give Australia their first gold in the event while Russia’s Aleksander Lesun took top spot in the men’s.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT IN TOKYO?
Rio Olympics champion Chloe Esposito of Austrlia is not defending her title in Tokyo after giving birth to her first child last year. However, London gold medalist Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania will be back looking to reclaim her crown.
In the men’s competition top ranked Frenchman Valentin Prades, fourth at the Rio Olympics, will be among the top threats for gold in Tokyo.
While there are few changes for Tokyo a major overhaul of the sport is being planned for the 2024 Paris Games. A new format will see the competition boiled down to 90 minutes and held in a single venue in the hopes of creating a more compelling television product.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Modern pentathlon, which is said to be modelled after the skills of a 19th century cavalry soldier, is the only sport created especially for the modern Olympics. It was introduced by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Stockholm in 1912. The women’s modern pentathlon was introduced at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
WELL FANCY THAT
Sweden dominated the event in the first five Games it was on the Olympic program (1912-1932), winnning 13-of-15 medals on offer and eight-of-nine gold (1912 Stockholm Games to 1956 Melbourne).
But from the 1960 Games on it has been lean times for the Swedes, who have picked up just a gold in 1968 and a silver in 1984 since then.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Peter Rutherford)