The Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne (UIPM), or the International Modern Pentathlon Union is the highest recognised and world governing authority for the sport of Modern Pentathlon. It was founded in August 1948 and currently has its headquarters in Monte Carlo, Monaco. The sport embraces the ancient counterpart and comprises of five individual disciplines. These are pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping and cross-country running. The union currently has over a hundred national federation members. In addition to overseeing modern pentathlon, the organisation also manages other multi-disciplinary sports like Laser Run, Tetrathlon, Biathle, Triathle and World Schools Biathlon. These sports have specifically been established leading to a wider range of participation, including laying a foundation for athletes to eventually take part in modern pentathlon.
Two people claim to have been the founders of modern pentathlon. They are Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, and Viktor Balck, the President of the Organising Committee of the 1912 Games. The ancient version of the Greek péntathlon consisted of a stadium foot race, wrestling, long jump, javelin, and discuss. The word modern was added to distinguish the current version of the sport with the ancient times, which was associated with an ideal soldier defending the castle. Coubertin wanted the modern version to echo a 19th century cavalry soldier caught behind enemy lines: first riding an unfamiliar horse, using a sword and pistol against the enemy, swimming, and then running to return to the regiment. The event was first held at the 1912 Olympic Games and was won by Swedish athlete Gösta Lilliehöök. Since then the sport has featured at every Games. It took a considerable length of time and a lot of lobbying before the first event for women was created at the 1977 World Championships. Today a World Championship is held every year with events for individual and teams for both men and women. This also includes relay and mixed relay events.
The competition format ensures an athlete gains points from each event they perform in, which is then combined in an overall total. Before 2009 the final event was always cross-country running, but now this event has been combined with laser pistol shooting. In modern pentathlon the starting times for the last event are staggered to ensure that the first person to cross the line is also the overall winner. Organisers rank competitors before the last event according to their points accumulated from the other disciplines. Starting times are then given to the competitors for the final event, with the leader going first.
Laser run – is the final event of the competition, or also forms part of a world tour that combines laser shooting and running.
Biathle – a competition consisting of swimming and running
Triathle – a competition consisting of swimming, running and laser shooting