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2016 Summer Olympics

Up for a pentathlon? You'll have to run, swim, ride, fence and shoot — all in one day

Up for a pentathlon? You'll have to run, swim, ride, fence and shoot — all in one day

To a kid growing up in New Mexico, it seemed like something out of a dream or maybe an action movie.

Nathan Schrimsher had shown potential while competing for a local swim club, prompting a coach to pull him aside and suggest he try modern pentathlon.

“Riding horses? Shooting guns? Sword-fighting?” Schrimsher recalls thinking. “Why are all these weird sports put together?”

A decade later, the 24-year-old ranks among the world’s best in a quirky Olympic sport that demands incongruous skills — running, swimming, equestrian, fencing and pistol shooting — all performed in a single, whirlwind day.

To make things even trickier, athletes are assigned unfamiliar horses...

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