A century after Pierre de Coubertin introduced modern pentathlon to the Olympic Games, athletes will line up laser guns as the sport parades its latest look.
The closing event of the London games schedule, the pentathlon will conclude a 20-year modernization that has pared what was once a five-day event into a single day. For the first time at the Olympics, the athletes will replace lead pellets with lasers in a combined shoot-and-run to the finish line.
“It’s a definitive step forward into the 21st century,” Jan Bartu, performance director at U.K. governing body Pentathlon GB, said in an interview. “Obviously there is this 100-year legacy and Pierre de Coubertin’s idea, which is a massive thing. When you start modifying the original format, you have to make sure the idea lives on.”
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