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...