Patton the Olympian?
On display at the National Infantry Museum at Ft. Benning is this sweatshirt that belonged to General George S. Patton. With all his bombast, all his skill and his incredible military aptitude it’s kind of hard think of him as a guy that liked to play sports. In fact, he was always a bit of a sportsman.
In fact, during the 1912 Stockholm Olympics, he competed for the United States in the first modern version of the Pentathlon which was only open to military officers since it focused mainly on the skills every good officer was expected to have. The five events that made up the Pentathlon included pistol shooting from 25 meters, fencing, swimming (9300-meter freestyle) horseback riding (800 meters) and a four-kilometer cross-country run.
Twenty-six-year-old Patton did remarkably well in the multi-event sport, consisting of pistol shooting from 25 meters, sword fencing, a 300-meter freestyle swim, 800 meters horseback riding and a 4-kilometer cross-country run. He did very well in the competition. Ending up finishing fifth overall. If not for the shooting portion he may have won.
Are you saying he didn’t do well on the shooting portion? Patton? Well, see what happened was that for the competition all the other competitors used .22 caliber revolvers. Patton, however, felt that since the competition had its foundation in military training, a more appropriate weapon was needed.
So he used a .38 for his round. Unfortunately, after his score was tallied up he found that he had lost points when one of his shots missed the target. He tried to explain that he didn’t miss. One of the shots had gone through the hole left by a previous shot. The .38 leaving much bigger holes than the .22. The judges, however, did not agree with his contention and his score was docked.
Not to worry though, he bounced back from the defeat and did pretty good for himself.