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Modern Pentathlon, Roller Sport Speed Skating join roster of Pan Am and Parapan American Games events at UTSC

The 2015 Pan Am and Parapan American Games includes the modern pentathlon, a feature of international sports competition for more than 100 years, and the host facility is being constructed at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC).  Two new sports fields located next to the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (TPASC), a facility shared by the campus and the City of Toronto, are the latest Toronto 2015 legacies for the campus and are currently under construction.

The modern pentathlon is considered a spectator spectacle. Introduced when the modern Olympic Games were launched in Stockholm in 1912, the event updates the competition’s ancient Greek principles while maintaining links to the athleticism of the ideal soldier.

From the Greek ‘penta’ for five, and ‘athlon’ meaning contest, the event was created to simulate the skills required of a soldier behind enemy lines: running, swimming, using sword and pistol (in this case a laser), and riding an unfamiliar horse. Held over a single day, competition includes fencing in a round robin tournament (using the duelling sword known as Epée in matches where nothing is off target), 200-metre freestyle swimming, and show jumping with competitors matched to their mounts by random draw 20 minutes before the event.  Two more contests—running and shooting—are combined, with competitors running four 800-metre laps, shooting a laser pistol at each of five targets before each lap. 

TPASC facilities can already accommodate four of these five sports.  The show jumping segment, which requires manoeuvring the horse over a 350 to 450-metre course with 12 to 15 obstacles, will be held on a new and adjacent field, with a specially constructed facility to accommodate the course, spectators, horses and equipment. The site will also include a field for a temporary 400-metre track constructed to host inline roller sport speed skating.

As a legacy of the Games, these sites will be converted to two grass fields, adding to the campus’ roster of outdoor sports spaces.  The new fields will provide additional venues for UTSC’s Department of Athletics and Recreation programs and intramural sports ranging from rugby, soccer, and lacrosse to touch football, ultimate Frisbee and even Quidditch.

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