- 03 Feb 2011
History-making laser pistol enters The Olympic Museum
At the 1st Youth Olympic Games in Singapore last August, Leydi Laura Moya Lopez, an 18-year-old Cuban, was crowned champion of the women’s modern pentathlon. Recently, through the intermediary of the International Modern Pentathlon Union (UIPM), the athlete and the German company which developed the laser system mounted on the laser pistol used during the Modern Pentathlon events, offered this item to The Olympic Museum.
The final that Lopez used this pistol in was the first ever Olympic Modern Pentathlon Competition that was conducted using laser pistols and the first ever Modern Pentathlon Youth Olympic Gold medal. So this pistol is significant to the history of Modern Pentathlon and the Olympic Movement. Leydi Laura received a donor’s diploma and the pistol joined The Olympic Museum’s collections.
But Leydi Laura Moya Lopez did not only mark the history of these first YOG by winning gold. For the mixed relay that closed the modern pentathlon competitions, and by pure chance, she was paired up with American athlete Nathan Schrimsher. The pairing is widely believed to be the first time in decades that athletes from Cuba and the USA have teamed up. The young man declared: “It’s the people. I really don’t know all the politics and stuff. The people - we’re all the same. She doesn’t speak much if any English. I don’t speak any Spanish. But we got along really well...we both do speak pentathlon!”
The two youngsters finished 16th out of 24. When the two met in Argentina a few months earlier, during the qualifying events, they didn’t think much about it. They took a couple of photos. They went on their way. Then, in Singapore, they made history...