SARASOTA — When former Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris set her mind to bringing the Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals to the Sarasota-Bradenton area, she rallied the support of both counties to secure a bid for the event in just a few days.
Now, it’s time for action.
The area will host the finals June 5 through June 8, with pentathlon events held at the Selby Aquatic Center, 8301 Potter Park Drive, Sarasota, and at the Sarasota Polo Club, 8201 Polo Club Lane, in Lakewood Ranch.
It’s the first time the event has been held in the United States in more than 40 years. Athletes from 22 countries will compete in the finals.
“This unique sport, to me, fits perfectly with Sarasota, which has such a diverse population,” Harris said. “It’s outdoors. It’s intelligent. It’s such a great family-friendly event.”
Pentathletes compete in five sporting events: swimming, fencing, equestrian show jumping and a combined run/shoot event.
Women compete June 6, while men compete June 7. The mixed event will be held June 8, with closing ceremonies held at Siesta Key Beach. Swimming will be held at the Selby Aquatic Center, while all other sport events will be held at the Sarasota Polo Club.
The Polo Club will be the hub for activities with music, vendors and booths, food and drink for purchase and other festivities, including a visit by the Sailor Circus.
Harris noted many of the athletes competing in the finals are vying for a chance to compete in the the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and will return to the area when Nathan Benderson Park hosts three additional Modern Pentathlon events: the 2015 World Cup Round 1 Competition (March 2015), the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials (March 2016) and the 2016 World Cup Final (June 2016).
Modern Pentathlon 2014 World Cup Final
When: June 5 through June 8
Schedule: June 5: Opening ceremonies, at at the Ringling Museum of Art; June 6: Women’s competition, held at Selby Aquatic Center and the Sarasota Polo Club; June 7: Men’s competition, held at the Selby Aquatic Center and the Sarasota Polo Club, and the Sponsor Gala held at the Ca d’Zan Mable Ringling Museum of Art; and June 8: Mixed competition at the Selby Aquatic Center and the Sarasota Polo Club and closing ceremonies at Siesta Key Beach.
Details: Pentathletes will compete in swimming, round-robin fencing, equestrian show jumping, running/shooting.
Tickets: One-day admission tickets: $12 (18+); $5 (student/child age 5+); and $5 (veterans/senior citizens); Three-day admission tickets: $12 (18+); $12 (student/child age 5+); $12 (veterans/senior citizens); and admission for children 5 and younger is free.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].