In ancient times pentathlon involved running, jumping, spear-throwing, discus and wrestling.

Modern pentathlon was introduced to the Summer Olympic programme in Stockholm in 1912 and comprises (one-touch épée), freestyle swimming (200 m), equestrian show jumping (15 jumps), and a final combined event of pistol shooting and cross country running (3200 m). This final event is now referred to as the laser-run, since it alternates four legs of laser pistol shooting followed by an 800 m run (for 3200 m in total).

Despite being continuously on the Olympic programme since 1912, an event for women was only added at the 2000 Games in Sydney. The competitions currently include men and women’s individual and team event together with relay events for men and women and a mixed relay event.

Since the 1996 Games in Atlanta, the format has involved athletes competing in the five events on the same day (prior to this the format was one event per day over five days). Athletes score points in the first three events which decide their starting position for the final combined event which comprises shooting and running. The athletes compete on borrowed horses and shooting is done with laser pistols. These were introduced at the 2012 Games in London and replaced traditional pellet-firing air guns.

Three Irish athletes competed in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow and two athletes competed in both the 2012 and 2016 Games in London and Rio respectively.

National Federation: Pentathlon Ireland

International Federation: Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne


IOC EB puts forward LA28’s additional sports proposal to the IOC Session

Baseball/softball, cricket (T20), flag football, lacrosse (sixes) and squash are the five sports submitted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)’s Executive Board (EB) to the upcoming IOC Session as additional sports for the  Olympic Games Los Angeles 2028 (LA28). These additional sports were proposed by the LA28 Organising Committee, for its edition of the Games only, […]


The Olympic Federation of Ireland has today named a three-person team to compete in Modern Pentathlon at the European Games in Krakow. Doubling up as the European Championships, the event in Krakow offers a significant opportunity for athletes to qualify for the Olympic Games in Paris next year, with eight quota spots available. Team Ireland […]


OFI Paris Scholarship Recipient and Modern Pentathlete Sive Brassil MODERN Pentathlon’s Sive Brassil sent out the most emphatic marker yet of her progress when she bagged her highest finish (eighth) at the European Championships in Hungary in mid-September.Her previous best placing at Euros was 16th so what helped the 28-year-old from Ballinasloe make such a […]

European Modern Pentathlon Championships – Pentathlon Ireland Team

Sive Brassil and Isobel Radford Dodd will take on the continent’s best as Ireland’s challengers at the 2022 European Modern Pentathlon Championships in Hungary this week.  Veteran Brassil will be leading the charge as she looks to build on a solid season of competition while Radford Dodd will be making her senior European debut in […]


Natalya Coyle

Natalya CoyleMODERN PENTATHLON BIOGRAPHY Tokyo marks Natalya’s third Olympic Games. In 2012 she became Ireland’s first modern pentathlete to qualify for an Olympics since the 1980s and finished ninth in London 2012. In Rio 2016 she finished sixth and she qualified very early for Tokyo 2020 by finishing 5th at the 2018 European Championships. She [...]

Scroll to Top