At the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Hall benefited from two lucky breaks. The horse he was assigned for the equestrian competition was discovered to be lame. The horse he was given as a substitute turned out to be so fast that Hall's only challenge was to keep from falling off while the horse raced through the course. Two days later, Hall arrived late for the pistol-shooting competition, but he was saved from disqualification due to a protest that was still being sorted out. He went on to win the gold medal. In 1956, Hall finished first again to become the first repeat winner of the modern pentathlon.