Let the games begin!
Competition is scheduled to begin today in USA Pentathlon World Cup #1 at Palm Springs Stadium and two other venues at Sunrise Park with a men's qualifier with a field including David Svoboda of the Czech Republic, the gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics.
The expected field of 76 from 28 nations and five continents also includes the world's two top-ranked male pentathletes, Russians Aleksander Lesun and Ilya Frolov, and 11 Americans, led by Dennis Bowsher, a 2012 Olympian.
The qualifier will include four of the five sports in modern pentathlon, with riding excluded.
The pentathletes will compete in a round robin epee fencing tournament, a 200-meter freestyle swim, and a 3,200-meter cross-country run combined with shooting, known as the combined event. Pentathletes must hit a target 10 meters away five times before starting each of the four laps of the 800-meter course in Palm Springs Stadium.
Point totals are assigned to performances for each event.
The start of the combined event is based on the scores entering the event, with the leader starting first. The rest of the field starts one second behind the leader for every four points he trails the leader, assuring that the winner of the combined event is the winner of the pentathlon.
The field will be split into three groups, with the top 12 in each group advancing to Friday's final.
The entire competition will be held at Sunrise Park -- the fencing in the park's Pavilion and the swimming in its pool.
Spectators will not be allowed in the Pavilion because it will be filled by fencing strips, according to Janet Newcomb, media director for the USA Pentathlon World Cup #1. Organizers plan to put a large video screen outdoors so spectators can watch, Newcomb said.
Competition will begin at 7:30 a.m. and will continue through the rest of daylight hours.
Tickets are $8 with children under 12 admitted free. More information is available on the event's website, usapworldcup.org.
The modern pentathlon was invented in 1909 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, as a test of the skills required by 19th century cavalry soldiers. It was first held in the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm.
The USA Pentathlon World Cup #1 is the first of five events on the World Cup circuit, which also consists of competitions in Rio de Janeiro, Chengdu, China and Budapest, Hungary and the final in Nizhny-Novgorod, Russia.
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