Military sports are, for the most part, the same sports that all other athletes take part in. However, some are tailored specifically to the skill set of the armed forces. In this blog post, you’ll discover some of the disciplines that are only contested by military personnel.

Hand-Grenade Throwing

Hand-Grenade ThrowingIn the Inter-Allied Games of 1919, which was a multi-sport event for the military, it was decided that hand-grenade throwing would be one of the military-specific disciplines. A bayonet competition was also proposed, but was deemed too difficult to judge fairly. For the record, the gold medal was won by American chaplain, Fred Thomson, with a distance of 74.93 metres.

Military Patrol

Military Patrol was a predecessor of modern biathlon. The latter includes cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, while Military Patrol added ski mountaineering to these two disciplines. There were 4 members in each patrol team.

The Swiss Armed Forces organise and contest the Patrouille des Glaciers against civilian teams every two years. This is a derivative of earlier Military Patrol events and concentrates purely on ski mountaineering with 3-member patrols.

Modern Pentathlon

Although not exactly considered a military sport today, modern pentathlon was conceived by Pierre de Coubertin, as a test of the skills required of a cavalry officer in the early 20th century. It first appeared in the 1912 Olympic Games.

The disciplines included in modern pentathlon are: fencing, 200m freestyle swimming, show-jumping, pistol shooting, and cross-country running. The last two are combined into a single discipline. In 2011, laser guns replaced air pistols in the running and shooting event.

Other Pentathlons

Other pentathlon events specifically tailored to different branches of the armed forces are held today. These include the aeronautical pentathlon (military air forces), the military pentathlon (a replacement for the cavalry oriented modern pentathlon), and the naval pentathlon.