June 23rd 1894 Paris, France. The French aristocrat Baron Pierre DeCubertin stands in front of his audience at the prestigious Sorbonne University. He announces his plan to stage the first ever modern Olympic Games and is met with wild applause and encouragement. He had tried once before in 1892 and his audience was less than receptive. Now, after two years of lobbying and engaging the support of the young President of France, DeCubertin is successful and planning for the first Olympic Games to be held in Athens, 1896 begins. This day is celebrated around the world as “Olympic Day” and marks the auspicious occasion.
Over eighty Pentathletes attending US Nationals at the Olympic Training Center tipped their collective hat to the man who not only founded what has become the largest social movement on the planet, but who also created their sport of Modern Pentathlon. Forged in the image of the ancient Greek Pentathlon and tempered with the modern accoutrement’s of today, laser pistols and electronic epee fencing, these modern pentathletes competed and trained over two weeks in 6 events and various divisions. It was an exciting time as 30 teams from around the nation participated in the Mixed Relay event, the latest step in the modernization of the sport. No doubt the grand old man of the Olympics himself would have been pleased.
For more on the US Nationals go to http://www.teamusa.org/USA-Modern-Pentathlon/Features.