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Paris Olympics: What to know and who to watch during the modern pentathlon competition

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A roadmap to follow for the modern pentathlon competition at the Paris Games:

Athletes to Watch

—Joe Choong, Britain: Modern pentathlon’s star athlete won gold at the last Olympics in Tokyo in 2021 and followed it up with two world titles. Last year, he won the world championship title in his home city of Bath, England.

—Elena Micheli, Italy: After winning the last two women’s world championship gold medals, the 25-year-old Micheli is looking for her first Olympic medal after placing just 33rd last time in Tokyo.

Storylines to Follow

—A chance to watch the ultimate all-round athletes in Paris. Probably the quirkiest sport at the Olympics, modern pentathlon challenges athletes to swim, run, fence, ride an unfamiliar horse and shoot a laser pistol.

—The Palace of Versailles is the setting for the semifinals and finals. The men’s and women’s final will each be contested in a 90-minute format designed to be more fan friendly than previous day-long competitions.

—After 112 years on the Olympic program, modern pentathlon is saying goodbye to its horses in Paris. The equestrian event will be cut after the Games following a scandal in Tokyo three years ago when a German coach struck a horse that wasn’t cooperating with her athlete. Modern pentathlon is bringing in an “American Ninja Warrior”-style obstacle course for Los Angeles in 2028. Many top athletes are fiercely opposed.

Key Dates

The event has a low-profile start with fencing preliminaries on Aug. 8, but the first medals are awarded in the men’s final on Aug. 10. The women’s final on Aug. 11 will be one of the last events of the Games before the closing ceremony that evening.

Reigning Olympic Champions

Men: Joe Choong, Britain

Women: Kate French, Britain

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AP Olympics coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

By The Associated Press

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