Reference : Only a Mayfly? Origins and ‘Rebirth’ of the Winter Pentathlon in St. Moritz in 1948
Scientific journals : Article
Arts & humanities : History
Only a Mayfly? Origins and ‘Rebirth’ of the Winter Pentathlon in St. Moritz in 1948
Heck, Sandra mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
European Studies in Sports History
Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre
[en] winter pentathlon ; military history ; Olympic history ; St. Moritz 1948
[en] Among the demonstration sports of the Olympic Games in St. Moritz 1948 was the winter pentathlon, a combined event composed of cross country skiing, shooting, alpine skiing, fencing and horse-riding. Differing from its summer cousin, the Olympic modern pentathlon, in its inclusion of snow sports, this newly introduced event was dominated by Swedish military men as was the summer version. However, as compared to the modern pentathlon which has been a stalwart at the Summer Games, the winter pentathlon was showcased only once on the Winter Olympic stage and failed to capture the imagination of future organizing committees.
This study analyses the history of an (almost) forgotten winter sport, the winter pentathlon, and thereby aims to explore the background of its Olympic implementation, failure and ‘rebirth’. The negative experiences at the 1948 winter pentathlon in combination with a lack of tradition and attraction finally led to its cancellation from the program. The biathlon, however, a combination of its two core sports, profited from this development.

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