Host City: Moskva, Soviet Union
Venue(s): Dynamo Shooting Range, Mytishchi; Football Fieldhouse, CSKA Sports Complex, Moskva; Swimming Pool, Olympiysky Sports Complex, Moskva; Trade Union's Equestrian Complex, Bitsevsky Park, Moskva
Date Started: July 20, 1980
Date Finished: July 24, 1980
Format: Scoring by point tables.
The United States had won team medals in modern pentathlon in 1956, 1960, and 1964. But by the mid-1970s they were no longer as strong a team. However, in 1979, the World Championship was won by Bob Niemann (USA) and the US won the team title by a very narrow seven-point margin. Because of the American-led boycott, he would not be able to compete, which left the individual event open. The defending champion, Poland’s Janusz Pyciak-Peciak was back and had been silver medalist at the Worlds in 1978-79. Also back was the 1976 Olympic silver medalist, Pavel Lednev, who had won his fourth World title in 1978. Lednev had wanted to retire after 1976, but was asked by Soviet authorities to continue. He was coming off an injury and had not competed in 1979.
The competition eventually came down to Lednev and his young teammate, Anatoly Starostin, and Hungary’s Tamás Szombathelyi. Szombathelyi led after the fencing and shooting, but Starostin moved into the lead after the 300 metre freestyle swim. Lednev was third after the shooting but a poor swim dropped him to seventh. Starostin held onto his lead with a solid cross-country run and won the gold medal. Szombathelyi placed second, while Lednev’s good run brought him a bronze medal. The run was held on a very hot day with temperatures of 31° C. (88 ° F.)
This was the fourth consecutive Olympics at which Lednev had medaled in the individual event – bronze in 1968, 1972, and 1980 and a silver in 1976. Added to this were three team medals, including two golds, giving him seven medals in all, the most ever by an Olympic pentathlete. Lednev followed in the footsteps of his former teammate, Igor Novikov. Together they had won eight World Championships in the individual event, but neither was ever able to garner an Olympic individual gold. Starostin’s gold medal was the first win ever for the Soviets in the individual competition. Starostin was still a junior and would win the Junior World Championship in 1981. In 1986 he was caught with a doping positive for a β-blocker, but would return to compete for the Unified Team in 1992.
|1||Anatoly Starostin||20||Soviet Union||URS||Gold||5,568|
|3||Pavel Lednyov||37||Soviet Union||URS||Bronze||5,382|
|14||Yevgeny Lipeyev||22||Soviet Union||URS||5,176|
|15||Danny Nightingale||26||Great Britain||GBR||5,168|
|21||Peter Whiteside||28||Great Britain||GBR||5,085|
|33||Nigel Clark||24||Great Britain||GBR||4,809|
|40||Brian Newth||33||New Zealand||NZL||4,486|