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Profile: Dolph Lundgren
Rocky IV star serves as U.S. leader

By Rob Allstetter / The Detroit News, July 18, 1996

Dolph Lundgren is springing into action again. This time, though, it's not to save anyone in some pyrotechnics-filled movie. He's trying to help save an obscure sport from Olympics extinction.

Lundgren, the Swedish actor best known for getting the snot kicked out of him by Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky IV," is the "team leader" of the United States modern pentathlon team. He's become an ambassador for the pentathlon, which International Olympic Committee member Anita DeFrantz said is "on the ropes" as a future event.

Lundgren starred in a movie called "Pentathlon" three years ago and was trained by actual United States pentathletes Michael Costigian (the world-record holder) and Rob Stull. A former Swedish national karate champion, Lundgren has been avidly involved with pentathlon ever since, recently promoting it on the talk-show circuit.

"The sport is much more well-known over here in Europe," Lundgren said from his office in Sweden, just before leaving for Atlanta and the Summer Games. "It's very unusual. It's five totally different sports and has some kind of relation of martial arts in the sense of its tradition. It's a very reality-based sport."

The pentathlon became an Olympic sport in 1912. It is based on the idea of a soldier having to deliver a message to his superiors. He rides an unfamiliar horse, but has to dismount and fight the enemy with his sword. Then he is trapped and must shoot his pistol to escape. Afterward, he must swim across a river and run 4,000 meters through a forest.

The pentathlon's five events - all to be contested in one day - include 20 shots at a 10-meter target, epee fencing, 300-meter swimming, an equestrian obstacle course and a 4,000-meter run.

As team leader, Lundgren is responsible to the United States Olympic Committee for the conduct of the team, arranges all of its travel and handles administrative responsibilities.

"It's an integral part of the team," he said.

As such, he'll walk with the team in the Opening Ceremonies - which he said will be more thrilling than any Hollywood premiere.

"I've never been to the Olympics before, and, for my first Olympics, to be part of it, part of such a big attraction, is unbelievable," Lundgren said. "The Olympics is much more lasting emotionally than show business. It's much more meaningful to mankind."