Sunday, June 10, 2018

The Modern MODERN Pentathlon

The track and field world has an event that combines many of the Olympic events into one. The men have the decathlon (10 events) and the women have the pentathlon (7 events, but I'm predicting in my lifetime this will evolve into a decathlon as well). They often say that these two events decide the world's greatest athlete.

There is actually another competition that combines events, but these events are not simply under a single sport. This event is called the modern pentathlon. It is called that because it is five events that showed the skills of a modern cavalry soldier. This is copied from the traditional pentathlon, which showed the skills of a Greek soldier in ancient times.

The five events are fencing (épée), swimming (200m), equestrian show jumping (15 jumps) and a combination (biathlon, if you will?) of pistol shooting and cross-country running (3200m).

The Main Man himself, Baron de Coubertin, introduced the event in 1912 and it's been in the Olympics ever since, despite losing popularity and, for that matter, relevance. Cavalry soldiers are now extinct in modern fighting forces.

I understand the significance, but I think in our world today we can steer away from the top aspects of a soldier and move to the top aspects of an athlete. The Olympics could definitely retain the pentathlon, but rename it the classic pentathlon instead, and introduce a new modern pentathlon!

The biggest question is what five events would be chosen? I'm not going to stick to one particular sport, but try to spread it out among five popular sports in the Olympic Games in varying ranges. Let's see...


  • 5000 meter run - either on the track or on a road course
  • whitewater kayaking
  • badminton
  • karate
  • 100 meter swimming 
The events needed to be single athlete events, and consisted of a sprint, a distance event, a timed technique event, a tournament with the body, and a tournament with an implement. 

You could easily substitute kayaking with rowing if you wanted to make the water less treacherous. Karate could be substituted by taekwondo or judo depending on how much throwing you'd allow. If you wanted just one tournament-style event, weightlifting could be added. 

This will probably never happen, but it's fun to surmise how the Olympics could add events that would be attractive for athletes and fun for fans to follow! And I guess that means I'm saying that equestrian show jumping might not be as exciting as kayaking these days. Sorry, horses. 

Wait! What if there was a team modern pentathlon? Five different team sports combined by points to have an overall team winner? How awesome would that be?! Basketball, volleyball, handball, rugby, and soccer! BOOM! Done!

What would you put in your modern pentathlon? Would you prefer to make a team modern pentathlon instead? Comment below or post a tweet - make sure to mention @CauldronLight! I'm curious to see what you'd prefer in your modern pentathlon!


Tokyo 2020 Prep

Adding to the main article, I am excited that there are so many Olympic events to choose from because it means that the crowds will be dispersed all over the place! So globally this is a question mark, but personally this is awesome!

Olympic Channel Video of the Week

I loved this video about Czech discus thrower Olga Fikotova, who fell in love while competing at the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and had to overcome some obstacles in order to have both love and sport. That's all I'll say - go watch the video!


Mini Blurbs
  • This week's BlurbWatch:
    • archery
    • diving
    • track and field
    • gymnastics
    • rowing
    • swimming
    • tennis
  • I got to watch more archery from Turkey, where there was a tight gold medal match in women's individual compound between Turkey's Yesim Bostan and Paige Pearce Gore from the USA. The event was actually in Turkey, so Gore was definitely the underdog. The match was incredibly close, and not clinched by Bostan until the final round. 
  • I also finally watched the South Koreans lose a gold medal match to the French in mixed doubles. 
  • Something people don't think about when watching archery: the wind is a huge factor. This is not indoors! The Turkey competition was on the beach, so the wind is always moving one way or the other. 
  • The gymnastics competition was carryover from last week's World Challenge Cup in Slovenia, where there weren't any Chinese or Americans in the final rounds. It meant that other gymnasts got a chance to shine. 
  • Both Indonesia and Vietnam had gymnasts who were strong in their events - countries that aren't normally at the forefront of gymnastics. Vietnam had two gymnasts take gold in individual events: Thanh Tung Le won on the vault, and Phuong Thanh Dinh won on parallel bars. Rifda Irfanaluthfi of Indonesia was in the final of two women's events. 
  • The Oslo Diamond League was held on Thursday, and because Norway is...north, the sun didn't set until much later in the day, resulting in a day meet when the athletes would usually be competing under the lights!
  • The stadium is an 8-lane oval, expanded after the original stadium was only six lanes, but the crowd is right up against the eighth lane. And there were crowds! This was the second Diamond League event - after Eugene, OR - that had a full house. 
  • The 3000m steeplechase was interesting because one of the hurdles was actually off. One side was set for the correct women's height, and the other side was accidentally set for the men's height! The ladies had to jump the water jump with this awkward hurdle, and I'm sure it threw a few of them off. 
  • Not only did I watch professional track and field, I also got to watch the NCAA Championships that happened this week from Oregon. There are some impressive freshmen that are winning national titles - especially Rio Olympics alum Sydney McLaughlin, who won the 400m hurdles title! 
  • I especially enjoyed the team aspect of the championships. Unlike most professional competitions, top finishers earn points for their university - a carryover from high school athletics. It especially means that even if an athlete isn't a national champion, they'll still be striving to finish as best they can to earn as many points for their school. Georgia took the men's titles, but the Georgia women were upset as USC chased down the Purdue anchor and won at the finish line to get the ten points they needed to win the national team title! Wouldn't it be kind of awesome if they had a team competition in the Olympics? (And this from the woman who just complained about the amount of Summer Olympic events!)
  • I watched live diving from Wuhan, China, and I enjoyed that the coverage showed a computer-generated preview of what the divers would perform before they actually did it. At least I knew what to expect!
  • Cynthia Potter's expertise in diving makes me feel stupid, because whenever I deem something a good or bad dive, she always says the opposite - and the judges show that she's right and I'm wrong!
  • The TYR Pro Swim Series is back in Santa Clara, CA in an outdoor pool. I watched as the shadows crossed from lane 7 all the way up to lane 1 throughout the 1 1/2 hours of coverage. 
  • My boy Chase Kalisz won the 400m IM, but instead of competing in the 100m butterfly he actually did the 200m breaststroke, where he finished in sixth. This would be an example of "diversifying the eventlist," as Swimming World magazine would say. 
  • Regan Smith won the 200m backstroke, and she's only sixteen years old! Don't confuse her with Ragan Smith, the 17-year-old and 2017 US Champion in gymnastics! Wouldn't it be fun if both of them made the 2020 Olympics? 
  • I also caught part of the Mare Nostrum swim meet in France, and there were some familiar, non-American faces like Hungary's Kantinka Hosszu and Great Britain's Adam Peaty (who both won events on Saturday). There were a few Americans over there, too, like Missy Franklin, competing after an absence. 
  • I don't voluntarily watch tennis if it's not Wimbledon, but I'd managed to catch up on my DVR and was looking for something to watch on Saturday morning and discovered the women's final at the French Open! Sloane Stephens of the USA dominated the first set and the first two games of the second, but then Romania's Simona Halep woke up and completely took over to win the last two sets. 
  • Neither athlete is much for half-shots just over the net. They both are all about power shots, so it can get rather tiring! 
  • Halep was actually the #1 ranked women's tennis player without ever winning a major title, but that distinction is no more.
  • In honor of Olympic Day on June 20 I am going to try out an Olympic sport that I've never tried before. I just got the Groupon for it...but I'm not going to tell you what it is yet!

Weekly Cauldron Check

Is the cauldron lit????

...No.


I'm Claire Nat and you're reading Light The CauldronFollow me on Twitter and Facebook @CauldronLight and read my past Olympic articles! You can start with my daily recap of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics HERE!

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