Modern Pentathlon Preview
This preview reflects info from July 2019. Due to disruptions from COVID-19, and the postponement of the Olympic Games to 2021, these storylines may have changed. For media looking for more recent information, please reach out to the sport’s press officer here

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Modern Pentathlon Team has a strong group of athletes vying for team berths with the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program looking to provide multiple athletes. On the men’s side, the list is headed by three-time Olympian Sergeant Amro ElGeziry. 2015 Youth Olympic Games participant Brendan Anderson will be battling for a spot along with Tyler Evans and Seamus Millett. The contenders for the women’s team are six-time national champion Private First Class Samantha Achterberg, 2016 Olympian Specialist Isabella Isaksen and Jessica Davis.

Invented by the Baron Pierre de Coubertin, creator of the modern Olympic Games, modern pentathlon honors the competition that was once the climax of the ancient Olympic Games in Greece. The sport is a classic contest played out in five events: fencing, swimming, equestrian jumping, and a combined shooting and running event – with all events taking place on the same day. The sport was initially contested only by military officers and was meant to reflect the skills an officer needed to possess to be successful in combat. The sport has been contested in every Olympic Games since 1912. Modern pentathlon at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will include both men’s and women’s competitions.

Competition begins with a fencing (epee) qualifying round. The following day, athletes compete in four events. The first event is a 200-meter swimming race. Then competitors go back to fencing, in which all bouts are for one decisive hit in one minute. Athletes must fence with every other competitor. Fencing is followed by riding, which is a 12-obstacle jumping competition in which competitors are assigned an unfamiliar horse at random.

For the final phase, the combined running and shooting event, athletes start based on the handicap assigned from the previous events. This phase consists of four 800-meter laps, each prefaced by a laser shoot in which athletes must hit five targets before they can start the next  lap. The first across the finish line at the end of the final lap is the overall winner.

The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) is looking to provide multiple athletes to compete in pentathlon at Tokyo 2020. Possible athletes include Sergeant Amro ElGeziry, Private First Class Samantha Achterberg and Specialist Isabella Isaksen. 

The U.S. has earned nine pentathlon medals in the history of the sport at the Olympic Games – six silver and three bronze medals. Emily de Riel earned a silver medal for Team USA at the 2000 Games, and the team hopes to break the drought after a near-miss at London 2012. 

Amro El Geziry (Colorado Springs, Colorado)
Sergeant El Geziry is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program who currently holds the U.S. Pentathlon national champion place and has finished in the top-10 numerous times in world cup competitions. El Geziry is married to 2016 Olympian Isabella Isaksen who also competes in pentathlon and was on the 2019 Lima Pan Am Team with her husband. Additionally, El Geziry has competed in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games for Egypt, and has qualified for Tokyo 2020 for Team USA. Pentathlon runs in the El Geziry’s family, as brother Emad competed for Egypt in the 2000 Olympic Games, and brother Omar is a 2016 Olympian and coached for Team USA at the Pan American Games Lima 2019.

Brendan Anderson (Boulder, Colorado)
Anderson is a U.S. junior national champion who has been competing in world cups and senior world championships since 2018. Additionally, he was a starter on the 2017 Boston College ACC Championship fencing team and placed 10th at the 2015 Youth Olympic Games. 

Samantha Achterberg (Denver, Colorado)
Private First Class Achterberg is a six-time U.S. national champion who has competed extensively around the world in pentathlon world cups and world championships. She is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, and currently trains at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Isabella Isaksen (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Specialist Isaksen competed in the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and is a member of the U.S. Amery’s World Class Athlete Program. Isaksen competed with her sister and fellow pentathlete Margaux in Rio 2016. Both her husband Amro and her sister Margaux competed at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games in pentathlon.

Jessica Davis (Bethlehem, Connecticut)
Davis is a former track and field athlete, having competed in the pole vault, triple jump and long jump, and has also competed in the Iron Man Triathlon competition in Kona, Hawaii. Davis has competed in the Pentathlon world championships four times.

Tokyo 2020 will include up to 72 athletes, with 36 athletes in each of the two events (men’s and women’s competition). A maximum of two athletes per gender from any nation can qualify, with the host nation Japan guaranteed a single place in both the men’s and women’s events. The 2019 continental championships provide qualification for 20 places per gender (five per gender from the Americas) with a maximum of one quota per gender per National Olympic Committee. Three of these qualifications per gender for the Americas will come from the top-three finishers at the 2019 Pan American Games.

American pentathletes will have their first chance of winning a spot in the Tokyo Games by either winning the individual event at the Pan American Games Lima 2019 or by finishing in the top two in North American at the Pan American Games. By this selection process, the United States has already secured one male and one female spot.

Athletes can also qualify by placing in the top-three at the 2019 or 2020 world championships. 

The last chance of qualifying will be from the UIPM world-ranking list as of June 1, 2020. Six quota places will be allocated via the UIPM Olympic world-ranking list on June 1, 2020 to the first six athletes not already qualified through the above competitions.

If one or more of the six athletes have already qualified at a continental championships, the 2019 world cup final, the 2019 world championships, or the 2020 world championships, then the athletes ranked seventh and thereafter according to the UIPM Olympic world ranking list (as of June 1, 2020) will be considered qualified by the UIPM Olympic world ranking instead.

• June 27 – 20, 2019 – World Cup Final
• July 27 – 30, 2019 – Modern pentathlon at the Pan American Games Lima 2019
• Sept. 3 – 9, 2019 – World championships
• May 25 – 31, 2020 – World championships (Xiamen, China)
• June 1, 2020 – Final UIPM Olympic world ranking list for determining remaining open places