Modern pentathlon at the Rio 2016 Olympics: All you need to know

Modern Pentathlon
Olympic Games on the BBC
Venue: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Dates: 5-21 August Time in Rio: BST -4
Coverage: Watch on BBC One, BBC Four, Red Button and up to 24 HD video streams on mobile, desktop and connected TVs, plus follow on Radio 5 live and via live text commentary.

How does it work?

Modern pentathlon was created by the founder of the modern Olympics, Pierre de Coubertin, in order to produce "a complete athlete".

The competition now starts with a fencing ranking round, in which all athletes face each other once. The following day, athletes take part in all five disciplines, starting with a 200m swim. There's then a fencing bonus round, in which athletes compete in reverse order of the previous day's rankings in an elimination, winner-stays-on format.

That's followed by show jumping, before the athletes' overall scores are converted into a time handicap for a 3,200m run interspersed with four visits to the shooting range.

Who are the favourites?

Both events are wide open but Valentin Prades of France has impressed on the World Cup circuit and compatriot Valentin Belaud became world champion in May.

Belaud's girlfriend, Elodie Clouvel, won women's silver at the World Championships. The past two Olympic champions, Laura Asadauskaite and Lena Schoneborn, remain a cut above the rest.

What about the British prospects?

Former world junior champion Jamie Cooke went top of the rankings in June after winning successive gold medals on the World Cup circuit. He is a superb swimmer who has improved his fencing and shooting.

Samantha Murray's silver in 2012 maintained the record by Britain's female pentathletes of a medal at every Olympics, but her form has faltered.

When is it on?

The fencing ranking round takes place on Thursday, 18 August with the women's combined finals event on the Saturday and the men's on the Sunday.

I didn't know that...

Rowing was one of the modern pentathlon disciplines wanted by De Coubertin. He was persuaded to replace it with shooting - which was easier to organise - so modern pentathlon could be included in the 1912 Games.

Previous British medallists

Seven (two gold, two silver, three bronze).

Most recent British medal

Samantha Murray took the silver medal at London in 2012, while Steph Cook won Britain's last gold in 2000. Britain also won a men's team event gold at Montreal in 1976.

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