Host City: Roma, Italy
Venue(s): Congress Palace, Roma; Federal Centre, Passo Corese; Olympic Swimming Stadium, Roma; Roma Acquasanta Golf Club, Roma; Umberto I Rifle Range, Roma
Date Started: August 26, 1960
Date Finished: August 31, 1960
Format: Scoring by point tables.
The great Soviet modern pentathlete, Igor Novikov, was a heavy favorite. He had won the World Championships in 1957, 1958, and 1959 and would triumph again in 1961. But he ran afoul of the modern pentathlon luck of the draw when the horse he drew for the steeplechase riding proved to be a poor one. Novikov placed only 33rd in riding with 982 points. He was over 250 points behind the leader and could not recover, eventually finishing fifth, despite a second in the swimming and winning the cross-country run.
With Novikov out of the medals, the competition eventually came down to the three Hungarian teammates, Ferenc Németh, Imre Nagy, and András Balczó, and American Bob Beck. They also struggled in the riding, but finished second, first, and sixth in fencing respectively. But the lead after the second phase was held by the Mexican pentathlete Antonio Almada, and after the third phase by his teammate, Sergio Escobedo, who was helped by his horse draw, winning that phase with a dominant performance. Balczó won the swimming, with Beck placing fourth and Németh sixth. Going into the cross-country run, Beck led, with Almada second, Németh third, Nagy fourth, and Balczó sixth. But Almada was a poor runner, and would finish 52nd in the cross-country. Beck was also not strong and would place 24th, falling back to the bronze medal, although he only missed the silver by three seconds and the gold by 15 seconds. The run was won by Novikov with Balczó second, but it was not enough for either to get to the medals – Balczó would finish fourth. Ferenc Németh placed seventh in the run but it was enough to move him up to the gold medal position, with Nagy following him in eighth in the run and winning the silver medal. Németh never won another major title, never competed at the World Championships, and never won a Hungarian national title.
|3||Bob Beck||23||United States||USA||Bronze||4,981|
|5||Igor Novikov||30||Soviet Union||URS||4,962|
|6||Nikolay Tatarinov||32||Soviet Union||URS||4,758|
|8||Jack Daniels||27||United States||USA||4,717|
|10||Hanno Selg||28||Soviet Union||URS||4,688|
|11||Patrick Harvey||24||Great Britain||GBR||4,679|
|18||George Lambert||31||United States||USA||4,540|
|24||Donald Cobley||31||Great Britain||GBR||4,372|
|26||Peter Little||26||Great Britain||GBR||4,294|
|52||Okkie van Greunen||26||South Africa||RSA||3,378|
|57||Habib Ben Azzabi||23||Tunisia||TUN||1,678|
|AC||Mohamed Ben Checkroun||23||Morocco||MAR||DNF|