6 Historical Deaths That Read Like Crazy Myths (But Aren’t)

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4. Arrichion Choked Himself To Death To Win A Wrestling Match

Wrestling hasn’t always been a heavily choreographed action figure fashion show. Nope, it is still practiced as a real sport, and at one point — like before we figured out how to sharpen sticks — it was probably the sport. It’s one of the original Olympic events, and back in the good ol’ days, people took it pretty seriously. Like, “dying” seriously.

In the 564 BCE Olympics, a pankration match — an incestuous mixture of wrestling and boxing — was being fought between Arrichion of Phigaleia and an unnamed opponent with a probably equally ridiculous name. Arrichion was the two-time champion of this event, so the pressure was on him to win. That possibility that seemed to evaporate when his opponent managed to get him into an unbreakable chokehold.

With no other option, Arrichion reached over and twisted his opponent’s ankle until it snapped in his hands. His opponent yielded in agonizing pain, and Arrichion was awarded the medal. Posthumously. In his grab for victory, Arrichion somehow choked himself to death. At first, it was thought that his opponent had deliberately killed him, or that he died when he was thrown to the mat, but science recently came up with a third option: The chokehold was depriving Arrichion of so much oxygen that the “simple” act of breaking someone’s ankle like dry spaghetti was enough to cause his heart to self-destruct.

Wow.

But don’t you feel ashamed that the only time you get sweaty is when you play video games. That’s still a little metal.

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