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Rocky star Dolph Lundgren helps U.S. pentathlon team

By Sven Busch, Deutsche Presse-Agentur, July 29, 1996


Movie muscleman Dolph Lundgren has come to the rescue of the modern pentathlon, which is in danger of losing its position as an Olympic sport.

"We're still on the programme for the 2000 Games in Sydney, but after that it's all up in the air," said the Swedish co-star of the boxing epic "Rocky IV"

Lundgren has been captain of the U.S. modern pentathlon team for three years, not a major position considering the squad consists of just one athlete and a coach.

The actor worked out the training plan and looks after all administrative matters connected with the sport, which consists of horse riding, swimming, shooting, fencing and running. Lundgren's movies and regular appearances on chat shows have won him a pledge from the television network NBC to screen the 4,000-metres run, the final event of the modern pentathlon, which begins Tuesday.

"That's a sensation if you take into account that hardly anybody in the general public has a clue about what five sports we compete in," said Mike Gostigian, the sole U.S. Olympic pentathlete.

Declining popularity is one of the reasons why Olympic authorities are considering dropping the sport.

Lundgren told a news conference in Atlanta on Monday that he became interested in the modern pentathlon in 1993 when making the movie "Pentathlon".

"In Hollywood, everything revolves around money. The boys in the modern pentathlon love what they are doing. Being with the athletes has helped me regain my innocence. I feel like 19 again," he said.

Lundgren, who was a successful karate fighter in his youth, said his Olympic dream reached fulfillment in Atlanta, when he took part in the opening ceremony as a member of the U.S. delegation.

"Marching into the stadium was the most beautiful moment of my life," he said.

The actor said he would not give up until "the future of our sport is guaranteed. I want a happy end".

Lundgren said he hopes his efforts will fare better than he did as a Russian boxer in "Rocky IV" when he was beaten to a pulp by the hero played by Sylvester Stallone.