The sport that uncovered a famed cheat
When the modern pentathlon hits the front pages, it is often for the wrong reasons.
The sport, being contested over the last weekend of the Sydney Olympics, comprises swimming, shooting, equestrian, cross-country running and fencing.
In 1976, Soviet army major Borys Onyshchenko made world headlines at the Montreal Games after being caught with a fencing sword adapted with a secret button which tricked the electronic scoring system into awarding him extra points.
"Dis-Onyshchenko", as he became known, returned home and never competed abroad again.
And one burning question remained -- had he used the same sword when winning the individual silver and team gold in Munich in 1972?
Native American Jim Thorpe, one of the most talented all-round athletes in history, won gold medals at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics in both the pentathlon and the decathlon.
He won personal praise from the King of Sweden and was honoured with a ticker-tape parade in New York.
But the conquering hero fell foul of the draconian amateurism rules after it was found he had played semi-professional baseball.
He was ordered to return his medals, drifted between jobs and died 30 years before the International Olympic Committee finally lifted his lifetime ban.
The sport, one of the highlights of the ancient Olympics for 900 years, had a great supporter in Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founding father of the modern Games.
But current Olympic chief Juan Antonio Samaranch is no great fan and had threatened to pull it from the Games' already crowded calendar because of limited spectator appeal.
It is not a popular participant sport worldwide because of the costs involved in taking part. In recent years, organisers have tried to boost its attraction for television by staging it over one day rather than the traditional five.
The idea behind the unique formula is based on a soldier being ordered to deliver a message.
He begins his mission on a horse he doesn't know. Then he has to dismount and fight a fencing duel. He manages to escape but then is cornered and has to shoot his way to freedom with a pistol.
Then he swims across a river and ends by running a long distance through the woods.
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