Kate French kept Great Britain's tradition of getting medals in women's modern pentathlon alive Friday, using pinpoint shooting to pull away from the pack in the laser run, a combination of shooting and running, to take gold with an Olympic record of 1385 points.
French was in fifth place after the riding phase and started 15 seconds behind the leader in the laser run, where starting order is determined by how many points a competitor has to that point. Each athlete must hit five targets with an electronic gun to advance through each of four shooting stages. French needed just six shots at each of the first two stations, then hit all five on her next two, racing out to an insurmountable lead after the last.
Germany's Annika Schleu was among the leaders but was undone by the most idiosyncratic part of the event, the jumping phase, in which athletes are paired with an unfamiliar horse. Schleu was unable to get her horse around the course and picked up 0 points.
Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania set a record time in the laser run to take silver and, at age 37, became the oldest medalist in the sport's history, male or female. Hungary's Sarolta Kovacs took bronze.
Great Britain has now won six medals in the relatively short history of the women's event, which was added to the Olympic program in 2000. Lithuania and Hungary are the only other countries with more than one, each with two.