August 6, 2021
By Steve Keating
TOKYO (Reuters) – Kate French put Britain on top of the Olympic women’s modern pentathlon podium on Friday, erasing a 15-second deficit on the final two of the five events – shooting and cross-country – to snatch Tokyo gold.
French, fifth at the Rio Olympics on 2016, charged into the lead after the first of four laps around the 800-meter circuit and was on target in each of four shooting rounds to romp to victory over Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania, who came from 52 seconds back to take silver.
Sarolta Kovacs of Hungary grabbed the bronze.
Modelled on the skills of the ideal soldier, pentathlon is the only sport created especially for the modern Olympics, being introduced by Games founder Baron Pierre de Coubertin in Stockholm in 1912. It has remained relatively unchanged ever since.
In 1964, when the Games were last staged in Tokyo, modern pentathlon was staged over five days but this time the 200 meter swim, fencing, equestrian show jumping, shooting and running events were crammed into one action-packed afternoon in Tokyo Stadium.
(Reporting by Steve Keating in Tokyo. Editing by Ken Ferris and John Stonestreet)