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Modern Pentathlon at the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games:

Men's Individual

Modern Pentathlon at the 1952 Summer Games: Previous Summer Games ▪ Next Summer Games

Events:
Phases:

Host City: Helsinki, Finland
Venue(s): Ahvenisto Administrative Building, Hämeenlinna; Ahvenisto Outdoor Swimming Pool, Hämeenlinna; Ahvenisto Ridge, Hämeenlinna
Date Started: July 21, 1952
Date Finished: July 25, 1952
Format: Point-for-place scoring.

Gold: SWE Lars Hall
Silver: HUN Gábor Benedek
Bronze: HUN István Szondy

Summary

With World Championships now having been conducted since 1949, there was at least some way to handicap the Olympic modern pentathlon event. Of the nine medals available at the Worlds in 1949-51, four had been won by Sweden, four by Finland, and one by Italy. The favorite in 1952 was Sweden’s Lars Hall, who had won the 1950 and 1951 World Championships. He was expected to be challenged by Finland’s Lauri Vilkko who had placed second in 1949 and 1951. Hall got off to a quick start, winning the cross-country steeplechase by 21 seconds over Finland’s Olavi Mannonen, while Vilkko lingered back in 11th place. Hall had drawn a horse that was found to be lame, and he was then re-assigned the best horse in the competition.

Hall placed seventh with the épée in the second phase, but fell behind Hungary’s István Szondy, who was third in riding, and fourth in fencing. Hall struggled in rapid-fire shooting, placing 15th. Szondy was only 12th with the pistol but remained tied for the lead with his teammate, Gábor Benedek, with Hall in third place, four points behind the Hungarian duo. Hall’s troubles in shooting were nothing to those of Vilkko, who placed only 38th and took himself out of medal contention. Hall was fortunate that he could shoot at all as he arrived late to the pistol range, but a Soviet protest had delayed the competition and kept him from being disqualified.

Lars Hall was easily the best swimmer in the competition and he won the 300 metre freestyle by over six seconds. This gave him a lead he would not relinquish. Placing eighth in the run, he won the gold medal by seven points over Benedek, with Szondy taking the bronze medal. Benedek and Szondy would finish 1-2 at the 1953 World Championships. Hall was a carpenter and became the first civilian to win the pentathlon. One interesting competitor was Australian Forbes Carlile, who later became the coach to Australian swimming superstar Shane Gould.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal O
1 Lars Hall 25 Sweden SWE Gold 32
2 Gábor Benedek 25 Hungary HUN Silver 39
3 István Szondy 26 Hungary HUN Bronze 41
4 Igor Novikov 22 Soviet Union URS 55
5 Ole Mannonen 22 Finland FIN 62
6 Frederick Denman 23 United States USA 62
7 Lauri Vilkko 26 Finland FIN 63
8 Thad McArthur 23 United States USA 68
9 Thorsten Lindqvist 26 Sweden SWE 75
10 Eduardo de Medeiros 29 Brazil BRA 80
11 Claes Egnell 36 Sweden SWE 82
12 Aladár Kovácsi 19 Hungary HUN 93
13 Olavi Rokka 26 Finland FIN 95
14 Guy Troy 29 United States USA 95
15 Leon Lumsdaine 29 Great Britain GBR 96
16 Luis Ribera 23 Argentina ARG 100
17 Nilo Floody 30 Chile CHI 106
18 Werner Vetterli 22 Switzerland SUI 107
19 André Lacroix 30 France FRA 110
20 Werner Schmid 32 Switzerland SUI 110
21 Aloysio Borges 34 Brazil BRA 113
22 Hernán Fuentes 34 Chile CHI 120
23 Pavel Rakityansky Soviet Union URS 123
24 Carlos Velázquez 27 Argentina ARG 123
25 Forbes Carlile 31 Australia AUS 123
26 Alberto Ortíz 29 Uruguay URU 126
27 Luis Carmona 29 Chile CHI 128
28 Aleksandr Dekhayev 27 Soviet Union URS 129
29 Eric Marques 33 Brazil BRA 135
30 John Hewitt 27 Great Britain GBR 136
31 Alfonso Marotta 28 Italy ITA 137
32 Berthold Slupik 23 Germany GER 148
33 Duilio Brignetti 25 Italy ITA 151
34 Jorge Cáceres 35 Argentina ARG 152
35 Erhard Minder 27 Switzerland SUI 158
36 Dietloff Kapp 27 Germany GER 158
37 Jervis Percy 23 Great Britain GBR 161
38 José Pérez 23 Mexico MEX 163
39 Giulio Palmonella 33 Italy ITA 164
40 Bertrand de Montaudoüin 28 France FRA 176
41 Ricardo Durão 24 Portugal POR 179
42 Christian Palant 27 France FRA 181
43 Lem Martínez 29 Uruguay URU 187
44 Antonio Almada 21 Mexico MEX 193
45 Francis Plumerel 34 Belgium BEL 195
46 José Pereira 34 Portugal POR 197
47 David Romero 22 Mexico MEX 202
48 António Jonet 25 Portugal POR 210
49 Américo González 26 Uruguay URU 212
50 Harry Schmidt 36 South Africa RSA 226
AC Adolf Harder 25 Germany GER DNF