My name is Samantha Schultz, but I usually go by Sammy or Sam. I got married in 2019 and previously competed under my maiden name Achterberg. I am 28 years old and have been competing in the sport of Modern Pentathlon since 2010. I was born and raised in Littleton, Colorado, and currently train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO.
When I was younger, I grew up doing a lot of sports but spent a lot of time swimming, playing tennis, and soccer on some local and competitive teams. My family was very active and I grew up skiing as well as hunting. When I was 8 years old, I convinced my parents to let me start riding horses and eventually progressed into jumping. When I reached high school, I started running cross- country and track while competing for the swim and ski team as well. I built up a huge passion for running and was able to continue with my love for swimming. I was also riding and training my own horse on the side. It was a ton of work juggling all of the sports on top of school but it kept me focused and driven.
I heard about Pentathlon when I was 14 and thought it was such an interesting sport, but crazy that anyone would compete in five diverse events. When I was 18, I became more interested and did my first camp at the Olympic Training Center in March of 2010. I did my first competition at the end of the camp and qualified for Youth Worlds which would be in Uppsala, Sweden.
The summer after high school, I went to my first international competition for Pentathlon in Sweden for Youth Worlds. I loved the sport but was unsure of the path ahead or if I had what it took to be competitive in the Pentathlon world. The coaches felt strongly that I had potential so I I took a shot and moved to the Olympic Training Center in August of 2010.
Since then I have won six US National Championships. I am currently on the National Team as well as the World Cup team. I have competed at multiple world cups as well as seven Senior World Championships and three Junior World Championships; competing individually as well as team and relay events. I won the Silver medal at the 2019 Pan American Games which qualified my spot for the Tokyo Olympics. I was an alternate for the 2016 Modern Pentathlon Olympic team so am looking forward to the upcoming season and making my Olympic dreams come true by representing Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics.
The road has been very challenging and lots of work, but nothing worth achieving comes easy. The training is rigorous due to all the events in pentathlon, but I absolutely love it that I am able to compete and train at this level. I have learned a lot about training for all the different events over the years to help keep my body healthy for optimal performance and improvement.
I know there is always work to be done, but I am looking forward to upcoming competitions to gain the experience needed on my path to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Japan . Hope you enjoy following me along my journey and thanks to those that have been so much support already!
To check out more about my story and journey click on the links below:
What is Modern Pentathlon?
Modern Pentathlon is one of the original Olympic sports and was in the first Olympic Games in 1912. There has been some changes with the length of events and amount of days the competition was held since the first Olympics, but the five sports remain the same. The sport includes epee fencing, swimming, equestrian show jumping, running, and shooting.
Fencing is epee style, one touch against each opponent. The person who got the hit is awarded a victory and the opponent a defeat. Each bout can be up to 60 seconds long and although this sounds short it adds up over time because we fence each opponent in the competition (35 athletes). The more victories and hits on the opponents will accumulate more points.
Swimming is 200m freestyle in a pool. The faster the time the more points the athlete accumulates.
The equestrian event is stadium jumping which consists of approximately 15 obstacles with the jumps ranging up to 4 ft. tall. Each competitor is drawn a random horse for this event. The athlete is given 20 minutes to warm up with 5 practice jumps in a different arena. The athlete and horse have to complete the jumping course to the best of their ability in a specific allotted time to receive the full points.
The running and shooting is the last event and is a combined event. The laser run starts with shooting down 5 stationary targets at 10m with a laser air pistol then running 800m. This is done a total of 4 times making the run a total of 2 miles and shooting a total of 20 hits on the targets. The start of the combined is staggered based off the scores from the first three events. This means the athlete who crosses the finish line first is the winner of the entire event. It makes for a very exciting final event of the Modern Pentathlon competition.