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Athletic contest entailing five distinct types of competitions. In the ancient Olympic Games, the pentathlon included a sprint, the long jump, discus throw, javelin throw, and a wrestling match. A modified version (with a medium-distance race substituted for the wrestling match) was included in the revived Olympic Games (1912–24). The modern, or military, pentathlon, included in the Olympics from 1912 and made a team event in 1952, includes an equestrian steeplechase, fencing, pistol shooting, a freestyle swim, and a cross-country run. Women's pentathlon competition (shot put, high jump, hurdling race, sprint, and long jump) was replaced in 1981 by the heptathlon.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pentathlon, visit Britannica.com.