Modern pentathlon tests athletes across five separate disciplines. Athletes must swim, fence, ride an unfamiliar horse through a show jumping course – they get just 20 minutes to get acquainted – and finally a foot race, which includes stops to take aim at targets with pistols which emit a laser beam when pulling the trigger.

72 athletes (36 men, 36 women) will compete in the men's and women's individual event competitions, respectively, with no more than two athletes per National Olympic Committee (NOC).

Here's a breakdown of the modern pentathlon events:

  • Riding: A show jumping course that features 15 jumps over 12 obstacles on an unfamiliar horse that the athlete is allocated in a random draw just 20 minutes before they compete
  • Fencing:
    • Ranking Round: A round-robin tournament in which all 36 athletes compete against each other in one-touch epee bouts. Each lasts for one minute or until the first touch (The first day of competition only)
    • Bonus Round: An elimination tournament featuring 30-second bouts (or until the first touch), seeded by results of the ranking round. The athletes will continue to compete as long as they keep winning
  • Swimming: A 200m freestyle event, with athletes seeded into heats based on their world rankings
  • Running and Shooting: A laser run in which the athletes alternate between running and shooting a laser pistol along a 3km course, with the athletes stopping four times throughout the run to shoot at five targets from a distance of 10 meters

When to watch modern pentathlon during the 2024 Paris Olympics

The action in Paris begins on Thursday, August 8 and concludes on Sunday, August 11.

After the 2024 Paris Olympic Games, a new fifth discipline is expected to replace the riding portion of modern pentathlon.  The sports governing body, the Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne, has been testing and could vote to officially add an obstacle course portion to the event as a new discipline.


The riding, swimming, running and shooting and fencing (bonus round) portions of the modern pentathlon will be held in a most regal setting, on the grounds of the Château de Versailles. The fencing ranking rounds will take place at the National Velodrome Venues for the remaining events in the modern pentathlon Olympic program have not been announced.

Equestrian venue rendering at the Château de Versailles for Paris 2024 Olympics
A rendering of the Château de Versailles set up for the equestrian and modern pentathlon competitions at the Paris Olympics.
Paris 2024

Competition Schedule

Modern Pentathlon at the 2024 Paris Olympics
Date Event Time (ET)
August 8 Men's Fencing Ranking Round
Women's Fencing Ranking Round
August 9 Men's Semifinal 7a-1p
August 10 Women's Semifinals
Men's Final
August 11 Women's Final 5a-7:30a