Olympic competition heading to Palm Springs


The Olympic sport of modern pentathlon, which was just saved from the chopping block by the International Olympic Committee and will remain an Olympic event, returns to the Coachella Valley this week.

It’s the sport’s first of a series of five World Cup events and it kicks off with Opening Ceremonies Tuesday, Feb. 19, in Palm Springs.

Twenty-seven delegations from around the world will compete in the five discipline sport, which celebrated its 100th Olympic participation year in London last summer. The event will run daily through Sunday, Feb. 24 with all competitions in Palm Springs.

“This is opportunity for people to see Olympians, those that were just in London and the gold medalists,” said USA World Cup CEO Michelle Strauss of Rancho Mirage. “It’s unprecented to have so many, post-Olympics. “Plus, we are making our connection with General Patton’s family, the Palm Springs High School band, who just returned from the inauguration Washington, D.C., will all take part. Everyone who has seen the venue thinks it’s fantastic. People have to come and see it.”

The modern pentathlon includes five events: Laser pistol shooting, epee fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, and a 3,200-meter cross country run which is combined with the shooting in four 800-meter segments.

It is based on the 19th-century cavalry soldier who needed to swim, run, fence, ride an unfamiliar horse and shoot to stay alive in battle. General George S. Patton was a pentathlete and his grandaughter is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at Opening Ceremonies. Proceeds from the opening day will benefit the Patton Museum located just past Indio, at Chiraico Summitt.

Patton represented the USA in the first Olympic modern pentathlon event at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. He finished fifth and continued training for the 1916 Summer Games in Berlin, but the games were canceled due to World War II.

All events will be held at Palm Springs Stadium and the Palm Springs Swim Center/pavilion. The equestrian jump is only used for the final rounds, not in Wednesday and Thursday preliminary competition.

Here’s the ticket information:

Feb. 19: Opening ceremony/jury ride, 4 p.m., $15
Feb. 20:  Men’s qualifying, 2:30 p.m., $8
Feb. 21:  Women’s qualifying, 2:30 p.m., $8
Feb. 22:  Men’s final, 2 p.m., $10
Feb. 23:  Women’s final, 2 p.m., $10
Feb. 24: Mixed relay, 12:30 p.m., $10

Children Under 12 are admitted free to all events.

To purchase daily tickets: 1-800-585-3737or go to www.startickets.com.