Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Rocky' Foe Turns Leader for Olympic Athletes

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

`Rocky' Foe Turns Leader for Olympic Athletes

Article excerpt

In the movies, Dolph Lundgren usually plays a bone-breaking tough guy. In his new off-screen role, he will play den mother to a team of Olympic athletes.

Lundgren, the muscular star of "Rocky IV" and other action flicks, is team leader of the U.S. modern pentathlon squad at the Atlanta Games. He'll be responsible for making sure the athletes eat right, catch the bus to practice and generally have the comforts of home as they compete for medals.

"And he'll be responsible for curfew," said Robert Marbut, president of U.S. Modern Pentathlon.

That should make for a bunch of well-rested athletes. Who wants to risk missing bed-check against a guy who, as the sinister Soviet heavyweight Ivan Drago, once hissed at Rocky Balboa: "I must break you!"

As a former athlete - he was captain of Sweden's national karate team - Lundgren knows he'll have three weeks of hard work.

"That's OK," he said. "Amateur sports is, for me, something with such purity. Entertainment doesn't give me that. I know the way an athlete thinks and I know how they are feeling. I will be working hard, but it will help these guys. And it can't be as bad a movie set."

Lundgren's association with modern pentathlon lends a little glamour to a sport sorely in need of some. Despite being one of the oldest sports on the schedule, it is facing Olympic extinction.

The event represents the five athletic exercises a soldier might have to perform to deliver a message: running, horseback riding, swimming, shooting and fencing. Developed by the father of the modern Games, Pierre de Coubertin, it is considered somewhat out of date and faces displacement by the more contemporary and widely practiced triathlon by the next Olympics in 2000.

To guard its position, pentathlon agreed to changes, including staging all events on one day rather than spreading them over five and simplifying the scoring. …

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