Pentathlon kicks off with women's events

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SARASOTA, FL. - The 2014 Modern Pentathlon World Cup Finals is officially underway in Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch.

This is the first time in 40 years that the world cup finals have been held in the U.S.

The top women athletes in the world kicked off the 2014 Modern Pentathlon at the Sarasota YMCA in Palmer Ranch. 36 of the world’s best faced off against each other Friday morning. "It's fantastic to be competing on home soil and we hope we do well here," says Coach Adam Maczik.

The USA team's coach says his athletes have their different strengths for each event. “Sammy who's actually fencing right now she's actually a fantastic runner and shooter, also a great rider, Margo is strong in all the events and Izzy is also strong in the events," says Maczik.

In the afternoon, the ladies moved on to swimming, equestrian jumping, running and shooting.

Canada says this year their focus is to improve on their weaknesses. "One of our biggest struggles is fencing so that's why I came in and we're currently working on building the confidence level up, slowly but surely," says Coach Samuel Gallagher Elletier.

The Modern Pentathlon is the Olympic test of the complete athlete, requiring a mix of skill, speed and stamina.

For young Suncoast athletes hoping to someday compete themselves, the games are inspiring. "At least I get to get close to Olympians. Usually we have to travel so far for competitions, so at least it's nice to see something in our backyard," says Veronica Hernandez of Sarasota Fencing Academy.

It takes hundreds of volunteers, coming together, to make an event of this magnitude a success on the Suncoast.

On Saturday, the men will face off.

For more information and schedules for this weekend's pentathlon events click here.