The fencing competition uses the epee weapon, a blunt-tipped dueling sword, and rules, where the whole body is a target. Each athlete fences every other athlete in a round robin for a one minute bout, where the first touch wins and ends that match. The athlete who scores is awarded a victory. If neither athlete scores a point, both receive defeats. Double touches (simultaneous) do not count and the match continues. A victory rate of 70% is equivalent to 250 pentathlon points with every victory above or below 70% adding or subtracting points.
The swimming event is a 200m free-style race ideally held in a long course (50m) pool. Athletes swim shorted distance depending on age. Every 1/2 of a second is worth +/- 1 points and thus the value of each swimming second is 2 points, with a time of 2:30 being equal o 250 points.
The riding event (equestrian show jumping) involves jumping over 15 obstacles of up to 120cm in height. Athletes compete on horse provided by the organizers, which are selected by random draw 20 minutes prior to the event. Riders get a 20 minute warm-up and five trial jumps to get to know their horse, prior to beginning the course. The athlete has a time limit for the course, depending on course length. A clear round in time allowed earns 300 Pentathlon points. For each mistake (rail down, time fault, refusal, other) the rider loses points depending on the type of fault.
LASER-RUN (SHOOT + RUN)
The final event of the competition combines the shooting and running in a format similar to the winter Biathlon event. Athletes begin in order based on their placing so far in the event with a one second delay for every one point difference in score. This start results in an exciting finish as the final standing in the event will be the order the athletes cross the finish line!
Athletes begin by running a short distance to the shooting station where they must hit 5 targets within a maximum of 50 seconds. They then head off to complete a 800m run loop returning to the shooting venue and repeating this four times finishing with the final 800m run. Running distances are shorter for younger athletes. The run is typically a cross-country course conducted on uneven terrain. Given the nature of this event and the staggered start, the order of athletes can change significantly from start to finish, making the final stages very exciting and dramatic.
The Modern Pentathlon Competition is typically completed in one day with events moving from one to the next in fairly quick succession. The standard order is fencing, swimming, riding, and combined (run + shoot). Youth competitions do not generally include the riding component. The performances throughout the day accumulate points with a goal of approximately 250 points in each of the disciplines (500 for the combined event).