Patton Granddaughter to Speak at Pentathlon World Cup Opening Ceremony in Palm Springs
The opening ceremony for the USA Pentathlon World Cup No. 1 will be held Tuesday at Palm Springs Stadium, with Helen Patton, a granddaughter of World War II U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton, serving as the keynote speaker. The elder Patton finished fifth in the modern pentathlon in the 1912 Summer Olympics.
Proceeds from the ticket sales for the opening ceremony will benefit the General Patton Memorial Museum in Chiriaco Summit.
The opening ceremony will begin at 4 p.m., two hours after the start of the jury ride, where the pentathletes are introduced to the competition's horses.
Competition will begin Wednesday with the men's qualifier. The women's qualifier will be held Thursday. The men's final will be held Friday, the women's final Saturday and the mixed relay Sunday.
A modern pentathlon consists of five events -- fencing, swimming, riding, cross-country running and shooting. The running event consists of four laps around an 800-meter course. Before each lap, the competitors must fire five shots from a laser pistol at a target 10 meters away. They may resume running once they have hit the target five times or the maximum shooting time of 50 seconds has expired.
Point totals are assigned to performances for each event. The start of the combined running and shooting event is based on the scores entering the event, with the leader starting first. The rest of the field starts one second behind the leader for every four points he or she trails the leader, assuring that the winner of the combined event is the winner of the pentathlon.
The qualifiers do not include riding. The entire competition will be held at Sunrise Park, with the riding and combined running and shooting event in Palm Springs Stadium.
David Svoboda of the Czech Republic, the men's modern pentathlon gold medalist at the 2012 London Olympics, leads the field of 140 pentathletes from 28 nations, that also includes the world's two top-ranked male pentathletes, Russians Aleksander Lesun and Ilya Frolov.
The top Americans include Margaux Isaksen, the fourth-place finisher in the women's modern pentathlon at the 2012 London Olympics and the women's world junior champion, and her sister Isabella.
A Pentathlon World Cup event was first held in the Coachella Valley in 2011. The U.S. stop of the World Cup circuit in 2012 was held in Charlotte, but was returned to the Coachella Valley in 2013 because UPIM, the sport's worldwide governing body, prefers its competitions to be held at one site, according to Janet Newcomb, media director for the USA Pentathlon World Cup #1.
A Pentathlon World Cup event will be held in Palm Springs each year through 2016, Newcomb said.
The USA Pentathlon World Cup #1 is the first of five events on the World Cup circuit, which also consists of competitions in Rio de Janeiro, Chengdu, China and Budapest, Hungary and the final in Nizhny-Novgorod, Russia.
The modern pentathlon was invented in 1909 by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, as a test of the skills required by 19th century cavalry soldiers, and first held in the Olympics in 1912.
Ticket prices are $15 for the opening ceremony, $8 for the qualifiers and $10 for the finals and mixed relay. Children under 12 will be admitted free. More information is available on the event's website, usapworldcup.org.
Competition will begin at 8 a.m. each day with fencing, followed by swimming at noon. The running-shooting event will begin at 2 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday. Friday through Sunday the riding event will begin at 2 p.m. and the running-shooting event at 5 p.m.
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