pentathlon (pĕntăth´lən), composite athletic event. In ancient Greece it comprised leaping, foot racing, wrestling, discus throwing, and casting the javelin. The modern pentathlon, an Olympic games contest for men since 1912, comprises a cross-country horseback ride, a cross-country run, a swimming race, épée fencing, and pistol shooting; women first competed in the pentathlon in the 2000 Olympics. In 2008 the governing body for the sport voted to combine the run and pistol shooting in one element. From 1964 to 1980 what is now the women's Olympic track-and-field contest known as the heptathlon (see under decathlon) was a five-event contest called the pentathlon.
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Publication information: Article title: pentathlon. Encyclopedia title: The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. © 2012 The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia © 2012, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. Used with the permission of Columbia University Press. All Rights Reserved. Publisher: The Columbia University Press. Place of publication: Not available. Publication year: 2013.
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