Breaking News

The Biggest Pentathlon Competitions in the World

Pentathlon is a sport that includes multiple disciplines. Just like the ancient Olympics, it dates back to those times where soldiers would compete against one another to show off their physical prowess. 

You have also heard about triathlon which consists of running, swimming and cycling, and it really tests competitors’ endurance and speed in all of these different disciplines. Pentathlon takes it a step further and adds exercises that have to do with combat and precision as well. Here we will talk about Pentathlon, how it got modernized and some of the famous competitions around the world. 

Ancient Pentathlon 

This first version of the competition heavily focused on combat readiness. The disciplines here were long jump, running, discus throw, javelin throw, and the final event was wrestling. We will see how it was modernized afterward, but even this was really interesting to watch. When you think about it, wrestling rarely gets any attention nowadays, if you don’t count WWE. So, it’s kind of sad that this discipline didn’t stick around, but who knows maybe it will make a comeback. After all, most of the UFC fighters heavily rely on it in order to win. 

No machine-readable author provided. MatthiasKabel assumed (based on copyright claims)., CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Modern Pentathlon

The modern version of the sport is organized and regulated by International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM). There are two main competitions, one is during the Olympic games and the other one is World Championship, which is held during non-Olympic years. The modern version of these games consists of cross-country running, swimming, fencing, shooting, and horse riding. It’s great that fencing is getting some love from this arrangement, as it is very interesting but sadly feels like an underappreciated sport. 

Indoor Pentathlon 

There is another pentathlon competition that is actually held indoors, just like its name suggests. This one, however, focuses more on running disciplines. Athletes get to compete in 60 meters with hurdles, high jump, long jump, shot put, and 800 meters race. 

filip bossuyt from Kortrijk, Belgium, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Paralympic Pentathlon

Another great thing about this discipline is the inclusion of disabled participants. Depending on their physical condition they can compete in the long jump, shot put, javelin throw, discus throw, and racing. 

Military Pentathlon Events

There are a few different military pentathlon events. These all have different disciplines.

  • Military – Shooting, obstacle swimming, obstacle-running, cross-country running, and throwing.
  • Naval – Obstacle race, amphibious cross-country race, life-saving swimming competition, utility swimming race, and seamanship race.
  • Aeronautical – obstacle course, swimming, basketball, fencing, orienteering, and shooting.  

As you can see most of these disciplines are becoming irrelevant for the modern warriors, which is why pentathlon allows them to maintain their relevance. However, this competition will undoubtedly continue to change as it needs to be about soldiers and the techniques they use in the field. 

Simone.Pe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Compared to other events and competitions this one tends to stay under the radar. After all, TV channels are in it for the views and rates, so they focus on more popular sports like football. Still, this doesn’t make the athletes any less impressive. This is an extremely demanding discipline and being so good at all these different things is an incredible feat. However, if people want a good fight they will watch boxing or UFC, if they want amazing feats of strength they will watch the strong man competition. This is why pentathlon only captures this sort of niche audience.