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10 Bizarre Olympic Events


If the biathlon sounds bizarre, the modern pentathlon definitely takes it up a notch. These athletes must prove their mettle in not two, but five disparate skills. A summer sport, as opposed to the winter biathlon, men began competing in the pentathlon in 1912. Women were inducted in 2000.

This event's purported origin story involves a French cavalry officer who had to beat impossible odds to deliver a crucial message. Starting out on horseback, he also had to fence, run, swim and shoot to get the missive to its intended recipient.

Fast-forward to the present, and in a single day, a pentathlon athlete must first fence all other opponents, swim 200 meters, then ride an unfamiliar horse through a 12-jump course. Those who pass this rigorous test must proceed through a combined bout of running and shooting to get the gold. Then they get to take a nap, we assume, if they so desire.