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72OLYMPIC REVIEWSPORTSPROFILES

For latest news go to www.pentathlon.org or www.olympic.orgOLYMPIC REVIEW73After his fellow Russian DmitrySvatkovsky won gold in Sydney,Andrey Moiseev succeeded himwith an outstandingperformance. He won three ofthe five events and started thefinal discipline, the runningrace, with an 11-second lead inthe handicap to reach the topof the podium with5480 points, 52ahead of Lithuania'sworld champion AndrejusZadneprovskis, with LiborCapalini, of the Czech Republic,third with 5392. The 25-year-old Moiseev had been rankedonly 10th in the world and inthe swimming portion, his timeof 1:58.88 was an Olympicrecord, over three seconds infront of any other challenger.The Russian knocked downsix fences in the show-jumping,the penultimate event, whichreduced his lead but he madehis move from the start of therun. Hungarian men had wonOlympic gold on four occasionsand in Athens it was theHungarian women's turn.It was only the second timethat the sport had been in theGames for women andZsuzsanna Voros (picturedabove) triumphed ahead ofJelena Rublevska, of Latvia(left), with GreatBritain's GeorginaHarland third. Voros,27, was dominant throughout,despite not winning a singleevent. She took the lead afterthe second discipline, fencing,and was never overtaken,accruing 5448 points.Modern Pentathlon has been on the programmeof the Olympic Games since 1912 and remainsunique. It is the only sport that was created forthe Games and, fittingly, it was invented byBaron Pierre de Coubertin, seeking to challengethe "complete athlete" by bringing together thefive disciplines of shooting, fencing, swimming(200m freestyle), show-jumping and cross-country running (over 3km).Pentathlon was part of the ancient OlympicGames - then it consisted of the discus, javelin,running, jumping and wrestling. In 1912, themodern pentathlon gold medallist was GöstaLilliehöök, from the host country, Sweden. In fifthplace was a George S. Patton, of the USA, who,30 years later, became one of the most famousgenerals in World War II. The mixture of physical and mental skillsdemanded in the Pentathlon has also meant thatathletes have been able to compete in as manyas three or four Olympic Games. This is because whilst running and swimming times can be expected to decline with age, experienceand skill in the technical disciplines oftenincrease. The oldest Olympic gold medallist inthe Modern Pentathlon to date is Pavel Lednev(former URS) who was 37 years old at the 1980 Games in Moscow. Below: Sweden's Gösta Lilliehöök runs to thegold medal in 1912 in StockholmFORMATThe major change for modern pentathlon inBeijing will be in the number of athletescompeting, which has increased by four - to 36 for each gender.It is an indication of the increasing popularityof the sport and growing membership of thesport's international federation, the UnionInternationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM),because in 2000, in Sydney, there were only 24men and 24 women. Solely a sport of individualmedals, qualification for Beijing has started withEgyptians Amro El Geziry and Aya Medanyensuring their places by winning this year'sAfrican Championships.The number of places for Beijing will bebased on positions in various events includingthree from the World Championships in Berlin in August and seven from the world rankings as of June 1 2008.VENUEThe sport will be split over three venues, allwithin walking distance of each other. Thevenues are based in the hub of the Games at theOlympic Green located to the north of the city,where the main national stadium is one of 10arenas. Fencing and shooting will take place atthe National Conference Centre, which will alsostage the preliminaries and finals of the Fencingcompetition itself. Swimming will be held in theTing Tung Natatorium, which will be used forWater Polo as well, and is next door to theOlympic Sports Centre Stadium, a 40,000-seatercomplex in the southern-most part of the Green, which will be used for the show-jumpingand running disciplines.In March, Klaus Schormann, the President ofthe UIPM, visited Beijing ahead of September'sWorld Cup Final in Beijing, which will serve as atest event. He was impressed with what he saw.CONTENDERSAn Olympic gold medallist is proving to be animpressive candidate for success at Beijing -and it would be quite a story. Sheila Taormina,38, of the USA (pictured below), was amember of her country's triumphant 4 x 200mfreestyle relay team in Atlanta in 1996 beforeswitching to the triathlon in Sydney in 2000where she was sixth andlater 23rd in Athens in 2004.Then she decided tochange sports once again tothe modern pentathlonwhere, after two World Cup events this year, inMexico and Egypt, she led by four points onher journey to become the first American tocompete at the Games in three differentsports. For Egypt's Aya Medany it will be hersecond Olympic Games, despite being only 18years old, and she will hope to improve on her28th finish in Athens. Another new name tokeep an eye on is Australian Chloe Esposito.She is just 15 but has already qualified forMay's Oceania Championships in Tokyo, whichmakes her the youngest Australian woman toreach the sport's Olympic qualifyingcompetition.Lithuania's Edvinas Krungolcas currentlyleads the men's world rankings ahead of LiborCapalini of the Czech Republic, while Moiseevwill be poised to retain his title in Beijing. Forthe host nation they have hopes also of amedal with Qian Zhenhua, 2005 WorldChampion, and Cao Zhongrong on the podiumat two World Cups last year.Above: The versatile Sheila Toarmina Below: Qian Zhenhua of ChinaATHENSREVIEWMODERNPENTATHLON