Thursday, November 27

Not modern, nor penta.

The Olympics still has a somewhat strange mix of sports, where multi-millionaires in some sports go through the motions with thoughts of more important events to follow, while others grab golds and smash records, then go back to shop-worker wages.

One event that continues to exist purely because of the Olympics is the increasingly misnamed Modern Pentathlon. Originally created as an updated idea of the Greek Pentathlon, it is often said that it was supposedly meant to demonstrate the skills of a military officer. First held in 1912, events a couple of years later showed that these were very outdated skills. Having been distinctly non-modern for a century, it is now arguably no longer a pentathlon either, as they're combining the running and the shooting. The random drawing of horses at the last Olympics appeared to make it a bit of a lottery (although I got the impression the women coped rather better with the horses than some of the men did). I suspect it's a sport that has its place in the Olympics guaranteed by its history of being invented by Baron Coubertin, but it's also in danger of not getting shown on the TV unless either a) one of our athletes might win it, or b) it's as funny as the horses that refused to jump were.

Either way, it's still not as silly as synchronised swimming.

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