The Road To Nanjing

Oct. 09, 2013, 12 a.m. (ET)

Four years.

When you’re 12 years old, 4 more years means it’s time to obtain your driver’s license.

Every four years we experience a presidential election, Leap Day and the Olympic Games. For decades, the Olympics were pretty much only available to the older, stronger, faster, more experienced athletes. That was, until the year 2010.

In 2010, the first Youth Olympic Games were staged in Singapore, with Dae Beom Kim of South Korea winning the Boy’s Gold Medal and Leidis Laura Moya of Cuba capturing the Girl’s Gold Medal with a blistering Run in Modern Pentathlon.

The 2014 Nanjing Local Organizing Committee is putting the final touches on their plans. Though work is still needed, the Nanjing LOC patiently awaits the athletes. August 2014 is 10 months away, but for USA Pentathlon, 2014 starts in less than two weeks. 

2013 was a great year for USA Pentathlon. Many youth were able to participate in World Cup #1 in California. From there, six Regional competitions were produce from late winter to early summer. These Regionals prepared and qualified youth for their National Championships held at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado in July. Then, USA Pentathlon tested the world. Many youth either competed at the UIPM World Youth Championships in Wuhan, China or at the NORCECA Youth Pentathlon Championships in Havana, Cuba. What we learned is that the world is aware of not just the quality of the USA Pentathlon Youth Program, but the depth of our program.

At Worlds, two youth finished in 17th place individually and then teamed together to finish in 8th place in the Mixed Relay. One had the 3rd fastest swim time at Worlds. At NORCECA, one girl had the fastest overall swim time and another was 2nd in her age group. Two girls finished second in fencing as did one boy. We shot well and had some remarkable run times.

For Modern Pentathlon, 24 boys and 24 girls from around the world will qualify for the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games. Already, three boys and girls from Europe while one boy and girl from Asia have qualified. Africa will be the next continent to qualify athletes.

For USA Pentathlon, the Road to Nanjing begins on Sunday, October 20 as the USA Pentathlon Youth Olympic Games Qualifier will be contested at the US Olympic Training Center. Four boys and four girls will earn the right to represent Team USA Pentathlon at the PANAM Youth Olympic Qualifier in Acapulco, Mexico November 29-December 1

Youth Pentathletes have been training very diligently for this once in a lifetime opportunity. It takes dedication, hours of training, sacrificing friends and other activities as well as willing parents to drive from training session to training session 5-6 days a week. Yet, those who train the hardest will position themselves to secure the next step to Nanjing. While many desire, only a few will qualify for Acapulco. Fewer, still, will then qualify for Nanjing which will only award one gold medal to a boy and girl. Will you be the one?

Nanjing is calling. Who will answer the call?