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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2002

Another step toward securing Olympic bid Another step toward securing Olympic bid (March 20, 2002)

World Pentathlon Championships will bring world's best to Stanford on July 15-21

by Keith Peters

The dream is to bring the 2012 Summer Olympics to the Bay Area. The reality of such a task, however, means years of preparation.

Before an event with the magnitude of the Olympic Games can be staged, numerous other championships must pave the way. Once such event is the 2002 Modern Pentathlon World Championship, which will be held at Stanford this summer.

The world's most "complete athletes" will shoot, fence, swim, ride and run at Stanford from July 15-21 to determine this year's world champions.

"Stanford University is honored to host the current and future Olympians who will be competing in this summer's Modern Pentathlon World Championship," said Stanford Athletic Director Ted Leland. "By successfully staging this World Championship, Stanford University and the San Francisco Bay Area will once again demonstrate that we're the ideal location for hosting the biggest and best of international sporting events."

Union Internationale de Pentathlon Moderne President Klaus Schormann, speaking at a San Francisco press conference Monday, said: "I am convinced the San Francisco Bay Area will prove to have been the ideal place to test 'the complete athlete'. With our presence here, we are following in the footsteps of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic Games. He spoke of Modern Pentathlon in San Francisco 87 years ago to the day. We are delighted to honor him by bringing the World Championships to the San Francisco Bay Area and Stanford University this summer."

With Stanford being the focal point of the 2012 Olympic bid by the Bay Area Sports Organizing Committee, events like the Modern Pentathlon Championships appears a perfect step forward to eventually securing the Games.

"The San Francisco Bay Area and Stanford University provide an unparalleled combination of location, venues, support, weather and sporting expertise," said Event Director Barbra Higgins, a 1984 Olympic fencer. "We're looking forward to bringing over 250 athletes from more than 40 countries, together with thousands of spectators, officials and members of the media, in what will be an unforgettable celebration of what Baron Pierre de Coubertin called "the complete athlete."

Modern Pentathlon was the favorite Olympic sport of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games. On March 18, 1915, at Pan-American Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, the sport of Modern Pentathlon was honored and a medal struck in commemoration of the day. The event was later credited by de Coubertin with preserving and expanding the sport of Modern Pentathlon - and the Olympic Movement - in America and Asia at a time when Europe was consumed by World War I.

A community outreach program, already in operation, ensures the Modern Pentathlon World Championships 2002 will leave the San Francisco Bay Area with a lasting legacy of increased interest and participation in Modern Pentathlon. School and club athletes from the five disciplines at the heart of Modern Pentathlon will now be exposed to how they are combined to form a mainstay of the modern Olympic Games.


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