General George Patton was an Olympic Athlete in 1912


Most people know American General George Patton as a great military strategist, but did you know he was an accomplished athlete in multiple sports? 

Patton, who severed as an American General in World War II, was selected to compete in the first-ever Olympic modern pentathlon at the 1912 Summer Games in Stockholm, Sweden. 

The modern pentathlon is an Olympic sport that comprises five different events: fencing, freestyle swimming, equestrian show jumping, and a final combined event of pistol shooting and cross country running.

Patton, a Purple Heart recipient, finished in fifth place in the event out of 42 competitors. Ironically enough, though, he came in 21st place in the shooting discipline. 

However, a bit of controversy marred the event. While the judges believed Patton missed the target altogether with one of his shots, he contended that he was so skilled as a sharpshooter that one of his bullets actually traveled through a bullet hole he had already made, according to History.com

Patton, a gifted fencer at West Point, was also selected to represent the 1916 Olympic team, but World War I canceled the Games. 

— Jerry Del Priore

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