Sunday, August 24, 2008

Bizarre Olympic Moment - Day 16

Each day of the 2008 Olympics we've found a bizarre clip or story from a past Summer Olympics. Today, in the last day of our series, we'll look at the 1960 Tunisian Modern Pentathlon Team.

We'll finish up our Bizarre Olympic Moments segment with the most obscure story on our list. One of the most unique sports at the Olympics is the Modern Pentathlon. Competitors must demonstrate their skills in five areas: shooting, swimming, fencing, horse riding and running.

"Baron Pierre de Coubertin founded the modern pentathlon believing the event would test a man's/woman's moral qualities as much as his physical resources and skills, thereby producing the ideal, complete athlete. " (From www.modern-pentathlon.com)
A complete athlete needs to be an expert at fencing apparently. We won't critique the merits of the sport as we wouldn't want to offend the four or five fans of the Modern Pentathlon.

Our purpose for this post is to look at one of the worse performances of any team in history. At the 1960 Rome Olympics Tunisia sent three athletes to compete in the Pentathlon. In the individual competition they finished in 56th, 57th and 58th. Dead last. One of the Tunisians, Ahmed Ennachi, took more than 17 minutes to finish the riding portion (the next longest was 10 minutes).

Surprisingly, the Tunisians found a way lower the bar even further in the team competition.

First up was the riding portion. Things did not start out well as all three competitors fell off their horses. The team was given a historic score of zero.

The swimming was the second event that the team would need to struggle their way through. The Tunisians scored a 1,260 which is impressive when you consider that one of the team couldn't swim and almost drowned in the competition.

Third up was the shooting. The Tunisians finished with a 1,340 just a 140 points behind Germany. They may have finished ahead of Germany if one of the team wasn't removed from the competition after he almost shot an official.

Things didn't look any more hopeful for the fencing as only one of the three Tunisians knew how to fence. The team hoped nobody would notice if they sent the same team member up three times with his helmet on. Officials did notice and they were awarded a paltry 768 points (second last Great Britain had 1,700).

The final event was the cross-country run. Tunisia finished strong (well, relatively speaking) and scored their highest score of 1,758 ... we guess it's pretty hard to mess a run up. They still finished in last place, but only by 350 points.

Other than Tunisia, every country finished with a score between 10,000 and 15,000. The total score for Team Tunisia was only 5,126 marking one of the worst performance by a team in Olympic history.

Maybe if Tunisia had this guy cheering for them they could have finished in second last. Somebody needs a hobby. Aim, Aim, Shoot!


(Information for this article was taken from a great article in the Herald)


Take a look at the 16 most bizarre Olympic moments in history:

Day 1 - Eric "The Eel" Moussambani
Day 2 - Betty Robinson
Day 3 - Sally Robbins
Day 4 - Abebe Bilkila
Day 5 - 1972 USA Basketball team
Day 6 - Bobby Pearce
Day 7 - Byun Jong-il
Day 8 - Stella Walsh
Day 9 - Spanish Paralympic Basketball Team
Day 10 - Ingeborg Marx
Day 11 - Vanderlei de Lima
Day 12 - Hans-Jurgen Todt
Day 13 - Liu Changchun
Day 14 - Dorando Pietri
Day 15 - 1956 Hungarian Water Polo Team
Day 16 - 1960 Tunisian Modern Pentathlon Team

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