These People All Met a Tragic and Slightly Comedic End
These People All Met a Tragic and Slightly Comedic End

These People All Met a Tragic and Slightly Comedic End

Khalid Elhassan - February 15, 2021

These People All Met a Tragic and Slightly Comedic End
Fourth century BC vase depicting pankratists. Wikimedia

1. A Great Fighter’s Tragicomic Demise at the Moment of Victory

When Arrhachion of Phigalia found himself locked in a chokehold in the pankration title bout at the 564 BC Olympics, the situation seemed hopeless for him. However, the two-time returning champion was a wily competitor and had a few tricks up his sleeve. Feigning loss of consciousness, Arrhachion tricked his opponent into relaxing a little. When his opponent eased off, the wily title holder snapped back into action, and snapped his opponent’s ankle while shaking and throwing him off with a convulsive heave.

These People All Met a Tragic and Slightly Comedic End
Copy of a third-century BC statue depicting ancient Greek pankratists. Wikimedia

The sudden excruciating pain made his opponent do the Ancient Greek equivalent of tapping out, and he made the sign of submission to the referees. However, in throwing off his opponent while the latter still had him in a powerful chokehold, Arrhachion ended up with a broken neck. His opponent having already conceded, the dead Arrhachion’s was declared the title bout’s winner – perhaps the only time in the history of the Olympiads that a corpse was crowned an Olympic champion. He thus added a wrinkle to the athletic ideal of “victory or death” by gaining victory and death.

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

Bleacher Report – MMA History: How Pankration Champion Arrichion Won Olympic Crown After His Death

Classic Movie Hub – They Died With Their Boots On

Encyclopedia Britannica – Calchas, Greek Mythology

Encyclopedia Britannica – Pietro Aretino

Encyclopedia Britannica – Zeuxis, Greek Artist

Independent, The, October 11th, 2011 – Actor’s Family Get Pounds 650,000 Over Fatal Stunt

Internet Movie Database – Jack Budlong

Journal of Medical Biography, Vol. 7, Issue 4, 1999 – The Death of King George II, With a Biographical Note on Dr. Frank Nicholls, Physician to the King

National Catholic Register – Saint Lawrence Laughed in the Face of Death

Providentia – The Crucifixion of Margaretta Peter

Richmond Palladium and Sun-Telegram, September 30th, 1920 – One Year Locklear’s Limit; Daredevil is Killed in Stunt

Unbelievable Facts – 10 People Who Died From Laughing Too Hard

Wikipedia – Erfurt Latrine Disaster

Wikipedia – The Skywayman

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