Shiny Fang, UIPM Secretary General, concluded her two-day visit to Sarasota-Bradenton on January 9-10, 2014 by declaring that she is “impressed and excited” by the local support she witnessed for the four major Pentathlon events Sarasota and Bradenton will host during the next three years, including three World Cup competitions and the Olympic Trials.
“We selected Sarasota-Bradenton based on several strengths, including the broad degree of community involvement its bid conveyed,” Secretary-General Fang said. “Hosting the first Pentathlon World Cup Final in the United States in over forty years is no minor effort – and I am impressed and excited by the enthusiastic community support I have seen during the last two days. The Sarasota-Bradenton facilities and community will also provide an ideal environment to debut the international Royal Pentathlon Club.”
Fang, one of only three female Secretary Generals in Olympic sport, was accompanied by three-time Olympian USA Pentathlon Executive Director Rob Stull. Secretary-General Fang met with former Florida Secretary of State and Congresswoman Katherine Harris and other local leaders to evaluate the ongoing preparations for the 2014 World Cup Final scheduled for this June.
The 2014 World Cup Final will showcase the top 36 male and 36 female Pentathlon athletes from around the world. Then, for the next three years, Sarasota-Bradenton will remain an essential stop along the “Road to Rio,” as some of the world’s top athletes prepare for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games.
The Pentathlon, considered to be the test of the “complete athlete”, was created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement. The Modern Pentathlon combines five sports: equestrian show-jumping, fencing, swimming, running and pistol shooting. This selection of disciplines was based upon the legendary tasks of a nineteenth century military courier, which could involve virtually anything necessary to deliver a message successfully, such as procuring the first available horse and jumping over an array of obstacles; defending from enemy attacks with a pistol and sword; swimming across intervening bodies of water; and running on foot.
Olympic Pentathletes ride an unfamiliar horse (drawn by lot) over a jumper course, fence other participating athletes with an épée sword, swim freestyle for 200 meters, and shoot a laser pistol while running a half-mile course (4 x 800 meters). General George Patton was the first American Olympic competitor in this event, competing in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics.