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From action star to team leader

Lundgren spars, rides, swims, shoots and runs

July 29, 1996
Web posted at: 11:30 p.m. EDT

From Correspondent Paul Vercammen

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ATLANTA (CNN) -- The modern pentathlon was scheduled for Tuesday, July 30, and action-movie star Dolph Lundgren couldn't wait.

Lundgren will have a lasting place in these 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games, as the team leader of the U.S. modern pentathlon squad. It's an exercise for him as a manager and liaison.

"I guess in practical terms you take care of everything to do with the team and the Olympics, like the travel, transportation, housing, uniforms, tickets and other events," he said.

The modern pentathlon is no longer spread over five days, it's now held in just one. To win the competition, the athlete must be a five-sport star excelling in fencing, horseback riding, swimming, shooting, and a grueling finishing run.

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"You do five sports in one day, starting around seven in the morning, and you finish with the run at seven at night," Lundgren explained. "It's rough, and these guys know they're going for the gold medal. They've trained for as much as 10 to 15 years, some of these guys."

The actor said he can relate because he's worked out his own mind and body for decades. While filming the movie "Pentathlon" three years ago, he became an avid fan of the sport. He's also remembered for playing a boxer opposite Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky IV."

Lundgren, who has a degree in chemical engineering, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to M.I.T. He said such brainpower helps in the modern pentathlon in mastering everything from the saddle to the sword. (170K AIFF or WAV sound)sound.icon

The ultimate warrior, General George Patton, was also good at it. He finished fifth in the event in 1912. The founder of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, concocted the event which is rooted in 19th century warfare .

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"He divised a sport, sort of based on a Napoleonic courier, who had to deliver a message on the battlefield," Lundgren said. "So, it kind of has to do with an officer's training in the old days."

These days, the best medal chances for the U.S. are carried by Mike Gostigian, who once said his team leader Lundgren, trains like a madman.

But Lundgren's workouts at Sports Club L.A. have stopped, as this team leader looks to the U.S. pentathletes to stretch their muscles and their minds to victory.



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