What the hell is the modern pentathlon?
As the Olympics draw near, let’s stop for a second and take a look at the weirdest event the games have to offer: the modern pentathlon. As the name indicates, it consists of five events:
1. 3 kilometer cross county run
2. 200 meter freestyle swim
So far, so good. Now let’s start to get weird:
3. Epee fencing
4. Pistol shooting
And to cap it all off:
5. Show jumping
What the hell is going on here? The event was created to highlight the ideal skills of a late 19th century soldier. So in that context, it all makes sense. I prefer to ignore the history and just view it as 5 insanely different events all tossed in together. The Olympic Committee is apparently not the sports biggest fan, and there has been a movement to get rid of it from the games. It is guaranteed to be around through the 2012 games, but may not last too much longer than that. Enjoy the craziness while you can.
Wikipedia, as always, has more.