First Australian, redemption-seeking Russian earn golds

Sat Aug 20, 2016 7:16pm EDT
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By Caroline Stauffer

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Modern pentathlon, the most diverse sport in the Olympic Games, concluded with a surprise in the final phase of the women's competition but with a leader from beginning to end in the men's on Saturday.

Chloe Esposito, 24, became the first Australian to win the women's Olympic title in the sport on Friday, setting a Games record of 1,372 points despite starting the final running and shooting phase in seventh place.

"I'm the first person ever in Australia to win a medal in pentathlon, and I can't describe it," she told reporters.

"It's been a tough road and especially this year, I had a few injuries."

Russia's Aleksander Lesun, however, started the competition by setting an Olympic record in the fencing phase and held his lead to take gold, making up for a disappointing fourth-place finish in London four years ago.

"I've set records in fencing before - after that I was just doing my job," said the 28-year-old Lesun, who enjoyed a nine-second lead going into the running and shooting phase.

The modern pentathlon, inspired by the Ancient Olympics and based on the training of cavalry soldiers, is exhausting.

In one day, athletes compete a 200-metre freestyle swim, ride a show jumping course on a horse they have never ridden before and finish with a cross-country run mixed in with shooting targets with laser pistols.   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Modern Pentathlon - Victory Ceremony - Women's Victory Ceremony - Deodoro Stadium - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 19/08/2016. Gold medalist Chloe Esposito (AUS) of Australia reacts. REUTERS/Jeremy Lee