Twenty-eight-year-old Dennis Bowsher faces an Olympic challenge -- times five.
Bowsher will represent the United States in the men's penathlon in the Summer Games beginning next month in London. The pentathlon is made up of fencing, swimming, horseback riding, shooting and running.
Fencing and swimming will be held indoors, but the other three will be contested outdoors, subject to London weather.
"I've been (to London) before, and I've seen the sun there," said Bowsher. "It does exist. But, yeah, I'm looking forward to it -- the whole experience."
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Modern pentathlete Dennis Bowsher is ready to take on the world's best in the 2012 Summer Games.
For Bowsher, these Games will be especially gratifying because he was left off the 2008 squad in Beijing. His fourth-place finish in last year's Pan Am Games clinched his spot on the team for London.
Bowsher believes weather could most affect shooting. While London will be warm in late-July, a windy afternoon can't be ruled out, and when millimeters can be the difference in a gold medal and no medal, a breezy day can dramatically affect the shooting event.
"You just want to get your shot off a little bit quicker," said Bowsher. "That way, you don't really give the wind time to push your arm aside."
Each shooting station is separated by 1,000 meters, and the athletes might be fighting excess fatigue during those sprints if the weather is especially hot. A member of the United States Army World Class Athlete Program, Bowsher might be one of the most athletic members of the U.S. team.
But the pentathlon includes an event where intangibles can bring down the most athletic of competitors: horseback riding. Each athlete is assigned a horse at random, and sometimes, the horse just doesn't cooperate.
"During that warm-up, you need to figure out what that horse likes and be able to adapt to it," said Bowsher. "If I try to make the horse change its style, it's not going to agree. I have to change for the horse."
No matter how the riding portion of the pentathlon unfolds, the day of competition culminates with a three-kilometer run. Bowsher, a three-time gold medalist at the U.S. Senior National Championships, believes he is prepared for the challenges of all five events, however, he hasn't just yet come to grips with representing Team USA.
"It's just now kind of starting to sink in," Bowsher said. "And I'm sure it'll just get more and more as we get closer to August."