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Modern Pentathlon at the 1968 Ciudad de México Summer Games:

Men's Individual

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Events:
Phases:

Host City: Ciudad de México, Mexico
Venue(s): Fernando Montes de Oca Fencing Hall, Magdalena Mixhuca Sports City, Ciudad de México; Francisco Márquez Olympic Swimming Pool, Ciudad de México; Military Camp Nr. 1, Ciudad de México; Vicente Suárez Shooting Range, Military Camp Nr. 1, Ciudad de México
Date Started: October 13, 1968
Date Finished: October 17, 1968
Format: Scoring by point tables.

Gold: SWE Björn Ferm
Silver: HUN András Balczó
Bronze: URS Pavel Lednyov

Summary

The two dominant pentathletes since the institution of World Championships had been Igor Novikov (URS) and András Balczó (HUN). But they had both yet to win Olympic individual gold. Novikov was now retired, but Balczó, World Champion in 1963, 1965, 1966, and 1967, was favored to win in Ciudad de México. However, the riding proved decisive as it often does. Balczó drew a poor horse and finished only 22nd in the steeplechase. His teammate, István Moná, placed second in épée fencing and moved into the lead after the second phase. After three phases, Balczó was only in sixth, with Moná still leading, followed by Sweden’s Björn Ferm, who had been third at the 1967 Worlds. Moná was not a strong swimmer and Ferm and Balczó placed second and fifth in the swim to move into first and second overall after four phases. The lead was 65 points and Balczó was considered a stronger runner than Ferm so the title was still in doubt. Balczó finished the run in 14:07.2 on the 4,000 metre course to place second, but it was not enough. He had actually closed the margin at one kilometer, but the effort was too much, and he blew up in the last half of the race. Ferm finished in 14:25.7 and fifth place in cross-country, and held onto the gold medal with an 11-point margin.

Wallechinsky has chronicled the frustrations felt by modern pentathletes who suffer a bad draw in the horse riding section. Describing the German rider, Hans-Jürgen Todt, whose horse did not finish the steeplechase with any points, Wallechinsky noted in The Complete Book of the Olympics, “After completing the course, Todt, disconsolate at seeing his years of training gone to waste because of bad luck, attacked the horse and had to be pulled away by his teammates.”

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal PTS
1 Björn Ferm 24 Sweden SWE Gold 4,964
2 András Balczó 30 Hungary HUN Silver 4,953
3 Pavel Lednyov 25 Soviet Union URS Bronze 4,795
4 Karl-Heinz Kutschke 28 East Germany GDR 4,764
5 Borys Onyshchenko 31 Soviet Union URS 4,756
6 Raoul Gueguen 21 France FRA 4,756
7 István Móna 28 Hungary HUN 4,714
8 Jim Fox 27 Great Britain GBR 4,663
9 Stasys Šaparnis 29 Soviet Union URS 4,656
10 Mario Medda 25 Italy ITA 4,631
11 James Moore 33 United States USA 4,613
12 Ferenc Török 33 Hungary HUN 4,551
13 Jørn Steffensen 24 Denmark DEN 4,545
14 Yuso Makihira 24 Japan JPN 4,529
15 Jörg Tscherner 21 East Germany GDR 4,515
16 Hans Jacobson 21 Sweden SWE 4,512
17 Elmar Frings 29 West Germany FRG 4,506
18 Seppo Aho 24 Finland FIN 4,497
19 Eduardo Olivera 23 Mexico MEX 4,474
20 Martti Ketelä 23 Finland FIN 4,446
21 Lucien Guiguet 26 France FRA 4,406
22 Bob Beck 31 United States USA 4,387
23 Wolf-Dietrich Sonnleitner 24 Austria AUT 4,371
24 Giancarlo Morresi 24 Italy ITA 4,359
25 David Bárcena 26 Mexico MEX 4,351
26 Alex Tschui 29 Switzerland SUI 4,337
27 Katsuaki Tashiro 30 Japan JPN 4,319
28 Siegfried Springer 25 Austria AUT 4,293
29 Tom Lough 26 United States USA 4,289
30 Barry Lillywhite 22 Great Britain GBR 4,285
31 Peter Macken 29 Australia AUS 4,284
32 Heiner Thade 26 West Germany FRG 4,264
33 Antoni Panyovski 26 Bulgaria BUL 4,247
34 Jorma Hotanen 32 Finland FIN 4,231
35 Konstantin Sardzhev 25 Bulgaria BUL 4,191
36 Toshio Fukui 25 Japan JPN 4,163
37 Jean-Pierre Giudicelli 25 France FRA 4,062
38 Robert Phelps 29 Great Britain GBR 3,931
39 Duncan Page 33 Australia AUS 3,904
40 Wolfgang Lüderitz 32 East Germany GDR 3,843
41 Pavel Kupka 22 Czechoslovakia TCH 3,819
42 Donald McMiken 26 Australia AUS 3,759
43 Nicolo Deligia 28 Italy ITA 3,657
44 Eduardo Tovar 22 Mexico MEX 3,612
45 Ivan Apostolov 26 Bulgaria BUL 3,462
46 Hans Jürgen Todt 31 West Germany FRG 3,009
AC Wolfgang Leu 23 Austria AUT DNF
AC Hans-Gunnar Liljenwall 27 Sweden SWE [4,664] DQ