Host City: Atlanta, United States
Date Started: July 30, 1996
Date Finished: July 30, 1996
Participants: 32 (32 men and 0 women) from 22 countries
Youngest Participant: Horacio de la Vega (21 years, 58 days)
Oldest Participant: Dmitry Tyurin (37 years, 303 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 3 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): 3 countries with 1 medal
Modern pentathlon was markedly different at the 1996 Olympics. First of all, the program was changed, as the men’s team event was removed and only one event was contested – a men’s individual. The old format of the competition taking place over 4-6 days (it had varied since 1912) was also changed to the entire event taking place in one day. The change was made because modern pentathlon was at risk of being dropped from the Olympic Program, and its administrators felt they had to do something to make it popular as a spectator and televised sport. The change to one day of competition first took place at the 1994 World Championships.
Because of the necessity of getting all the competitors thru all five sports, the field was limited to 32 men, with only two competitors from any nation, although the top three finishers at the 1995 World Championships received wildcards. The competition began at 7 AM (0700) with shooting. The order of events was also changed again – in 1996 it was shooting, swimming, fencing, riding, and running. Further the cross-country run was again contested using a staggered start, with the leaders going off first, as in 1984 and 1988. One of the difficulties in 1996 was getting the athletes from one venue to another. The bus taking the competitors to the riding course was 30 minutes late.