• News
  • Features
  • Roll of Honour
  • Links
  • Selected Item
  • This Month
  • Last Month
  • Feb 2014

Wille Grut - Obituary

Posted on Thursday, 6th Dec 2012 by John Woodbridge

It is with great regret that we announce the passing of Willie Grut who, beside Pierre de Coubertin, has had the biggest influence on Modern Pentathlonís history. He was 98.

Grut was the most talented in a long line of great Swedish pentathletes and administrators and his contribution will live on for many years to come.

Grutís overwhelming domination of the 1948 Olympic Games was a feat that can never be repeated. In those days, results were decided by placing positions in each event, 1 point for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and so on. The winner being the pentathlete with the lowest overall score. With a total placing score of only 16, Grut was a full 31 place points ahead of the silver medallist. He won three of the five events outright (riding, fencing and swimming).

Of course such a sensational victory was bound to draw the attention of the media. Even in 1948, newspaper reports tried to turn him into Mr. Perfect. It was said that he would avoid standing next to a smoker even outdoors (quite difficult to do in 1948) and that the only break he ever took from his rigorous training schedule was to escort his sons to church on Sunday morning.

Perhaps even more significant than his breath-taking victory in 1948 was his enormous influence on the sport as Secretary-General of the UIPM from 1960 to 1984. Grut managed the Swedish team until 1960 before devoting himself to serious UIPM business. While fellow Swede, Sven Thofelt was UIPM President, it was Grut whose executive role as Secretary General enabled him to change Modern Pentathlon into a modern sport well-respected by the IOC.

Grutís father, Torben Grut, had been the architect who designed the 1912 Olympic Stadium and, according to Grutís biography ĎIf I remember correctly..í (1994), he was a driving force behind his sonís early success: Grut won 25 Swedish National swimming titles between 1931 and 1936. Wille had been a good student and was all set to study medicine at Cambridge when the collapse of Ivar Kreugerís business empire in 1932 robbed the Gruts of all their money. So enormous was Kreugerís influence that he controlled 64% of the entire Swedish Stock Exchange and thousands were bankrupted by the collapse.

Instead, Wille Grut became a soldier. That cost his family nothing and set him underway on a highly successful sporting and military career. As a young man, Wille represented Sweden in the swimming at the 1936 Berlin Olympics where he also watched the pentathlon events. In witnessing the German, Handrickís win which brought to an end the unbroken success of Sweden did he vow revenge for his home country?

Whatever his motivation, he became Swedish Modern Pentathlon champion five times between 1939 and 1948 and took a silver medal in the Winter Olympic Pentathlon of 1948. By the time he arrived in London for the 1948 Summer Games, he was only a month short of his 34th birthday. Grutís sporting career would have been even greater had the world not been at war and he had been able to compete in more international competitions.

He later rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Swedish army and was a much-admired leader of his men. In his early training, Bengt Uggla, who had placed 4th in the 1920 Olympic Modern Pentathlon, told him, ĎPlay sport until the day you die, but do not let sport be the death of youí. Grut remembered this and, at 98 years old, had only recently cut down on his daily swim and gym workouts. In recent years, he lived with his family in the Swedish lakeside town of stersund. Sadly, a broken leg in a fall last spring prevented him from attending the London 2012 Olympic Games.

A highly intelligent and affable man, Wille Grut smoothed the way for the survival of Modern Pentathlon in the modern era. Of the respect due to the great pentathlete-administrators of Modern Pentathlon, our sport owes him the most.


News from April 2014

- {Date} -
{Headline}

{Headline}

Posted on {Date} by {Posted_By}

{News_Item}

Date MYSQL Date Headline News Item Posted By
Sunday, 20th Apr 2014 2014-04-20 10th for GB pair in mixed relay at Chengdu World Cup

The young British pairing of Kate French and Sam Curry came 10th in the mixed relay  – the final event of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Chengdu, China today (Sunday).
 
The GB pair were eighth after the fencing, winning 19 and losing 25 of their contests and were then eighth in the 2x100m freestyle relay with a time of 2:04.31.  
 
A sixth place finish in the run/shoot followed a 12th place in the ride, seeing the GB pair finish 10th overall.
 
Gold went to Korea, with Belarus winning silver and China bronze.
 
The Modern Pentathlon World Cup action now moves on to Kecskemet in Hungary from 1 to 5 May.
 
Pentathlon GB is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of modern pentathlon and has its National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
 
 
Chengdu mixed relay results
Gold: Soo Jin Yang & Woojin Hwang (KOR) – 1438 points
Silver: Tatsiana Yelizarova & Stanislau Zhurauliou (BLR) – 1429 points
Bronze: Xiaonan Zhang & Haihang Su (CHN) – 1421 points
10th: Kate French & Sam Curry (GBR) – 1286 points
 

Steve Ballinger
Friday, 18th Apr 2014 2014-04-18 Britain’s French secures career best World Cup finish

Britain’s Kate French achieved the highest Modern Pentathlon World Cup finish of her career to date when she came sixth in China today (Friday).
 
The 23-year-old, ranked 18th in the world, crossed the finish line just six seconds off the bronze medal position at the competition in Chengdu.
 
Team-mate Samantha Murray finished 29th with Freyja Prentice not taking part in the fun/shoot due to an ankle injury. She had been 13th after the ride.
 
Today’s performance was the latest in a string of impressive performances from French, originally from Kent but now training at Pentathlon GB’s National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
 
She came 10th in the individual competitions at both World and European Championships last year and was runner-up at last month’s Swiss International in Bern and at this month’s International Budapest Cup.
 
French and Prentice won 19 bouts fencing bouts apiece today to share 12th place with 214 pentathlon points, while Murray won 17 of her 35 fencing contests putting her in 16th place with 202 points.
 
Murray clocked the quickest swim time of the day with a 200m freestyle time of 2:11.00 to add 308 points to her total, promoting her to eighth. French’s 2:21.11 was the 19th fastest of the day, putting her 13th going into the ride, while Prentice’s 2:26.25 saw her drop to 21st.
 
Murray went clear in the ride, but sustained eight time penalties to give her 292 points, putting her fifth going into the run/shoot. She started the run/shoot 27 seconds behind Russia’s event leader Alise Fakhrutdinova.
 
French dropped 12 points from the maximum riding score to go into the run/shoot in 10th, 50 seconds behind the leader, while Prentice’s riding performance – dropping just eight points – pushed her back up the leaderboard into 13th.
 
Prentice, who had been troubled by an ankle injury in Wednesday’s qualifiers, decided against tackling the run/shoot.
 
And while Murray’s Chendgu campaign faltered and she dropped down the field, French went on to achieve her highest World Cup finish yet. Her run/shoot time of 13:19.21 was the sixth best of the day. She crossed the finish line six seconds behind bronze medallist Wanxia Liang, a second behind Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs and alongside Mina Jeong of South Korea, who just edged fifth.

Qian Chen, China's world number three, won gold with Poland's Oktawia Nowacka taking silver.
 
Pentathlon GB is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of modern pentathlon and has its National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
 
Chengdu World Cup results
Gold: Qian Chen (CHN) – 1333 points
Silver: Oktawia Nowacka (POL) – 1300 points
Bronze: Wanxia Liang (CHN) – 1286 points
4th: Sarolta Kovacs (HUN) – 1281 points
5th: Mina Jeong (KOR) – 1280 points
6th: Kate French (GBR) – 1280 points
29th: Samantha Murray (GBR) – 1165 points
36th: Freyja Prentice (GBR) – 768 points (did not contest run/shoot)
 
Chengdu World Cup schedule
(please note: Chengdu time is seven hours ahead of UK time)
 
Wednesday: 16 April: women’s heats
Thursday 17 April: men’s heats
Friday 18 April: women’s final
Saturday 19 April: men’s final
Sunday 20 April: mixed relay
 
GB team for Chengdu
 
Kate French – 11.02.91, Meopham, Gravesend – Bath
Samantha Murray – 25.09.89, Clitheroe, Lancashire – Bath
Freyja Prentice – 20.05.90, Inverurie, near Aberdeen - Bath
 
Sam Curry – 03.09.93, Salfords, near Redhill – Bath
Luke Tasker – 28.01.94 – Waddington, Clitheroe, Lancashire - Bath
Tom Toolis – 23.12.92, Hornchurch, north east London- Bath
 

Steve Ballinger
Thursday, 17th Apr 2014 2014-04-17 GB men miss out on final berths at Chengdu World Cup

The young British men’s team have missed out on places in Saturday’s final at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in China. 

Twenty-year-old Sam Curry came agonisingly close to clinching a place in the final at only his fourth World Cup competition.
 
The top-12 athletes from each of the two semis automatically progress along with the next 12 highest points scores from the two semis.
 
Curry finished 18th in semi-final A and his points total of 1080 was the joint 12th highest among the athletes who didn’t automatically qualify, along with Lukas Kontrimavicius of Lithuania. But the Lithuanian’s better run/shoot time in semi-final B saw him secure the last spot in the men’s final on Saturday.
 
Curry was sixth after the fencing in semi-final A and climbed to ninth with a 200m freestyle swim time of 2:05.82. He dropped to 18th in the run/shoot.
 
Twenty-year-old Luke Tasker, competing at his first World Cup, finished 31st in the same semi. He was joint 19th after the fencing, produced the sixth fastest swim of the semi (2:02.92) to go into the run/shoot in 13th, but he dropped down the field.
 
Semi-final B started in the pool and Tom Toolis’ swim time of 2:04.56 put him eighth. He dropped down to 21st after the fencing and ended the day in the same spot.
 
Tomorrow (Friday) sees the women return to action in their final.
 
Pentathlon GB is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of modern pentathlon and has its National Training Centre at the University of Bath.

Steve Ballinger
Wednesday, 16th Apr 2014 2014-04-16 GB trio through to Chengdu World Cup final

All three British women competing at the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in China have progressed through to Friday’s final.
 
Kate French, Freyja Prentice and Samantha Murray all qualified from their semis in Chengdu today (Wednesday).
 
Prentice struggled with an ankle injury and a decision on her participation in the final will be taken on the day.
 
Istvan Nemeth, Women’s Head Coach for the British team, said: “The only goal in the semi-finals is to get into the final. They’ve achieved that today."
 
French, ranked 19th in the world, qualified comfortably from semi-final A, crossing the finishing line in third place, 11 seconds behind China’s Xiaonon Zhang and a second behind Russia’s Ekaterina Khuraskina.
 
Sixth after the fencing and fifth after the swim, she was able to make sure of a top-12 place that guaranteed a spot in Friday’s final.
 
Prentice finished 17th in semi A after an ankle injury hampered her efforts during the run/shoot. With the top-12 from each semi guaranteed places in the final along with the next 12 highest points scorers, she faced a wait to see if she had reached the final. Her points score was high enough to see her through.
 
Samantha Murray came home 14th in semi B. Eleventh after the fencing, she clocked the second fastest 200m swim of the semi with 2:11.26 to go into the run/shoot in fifth. She crossed the finish line in a bunch of athletes to safely qualify for Friday's final.
 
Russia’s Donata Rimsaite led the way home in semi-final B.
 
Tomorrow (Thursday), 20-year-old Luke Tasker makes his World Cup debut in the men’s heats. He goes in semi-final A. Sam Curry and Tom Toolis go in semi-final B.
 
Pentathlon GB is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of modern pentathlon and has its National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
 
Chengdu World Cup schedule
(please note: Chengdu time is seven hours ahead of UK time)
 
Wednesday: 16 April: women’s heats
Thursday 17 April: men’s heats
Friday 18 April: women’s final
Saturday 19 April: men’s final
Sunday 20 April: mixed relay
 
GB team for Chengdu
 
Kate French – 11.02.91, Meopham, Gravesend – Bath
Samantha Murray – 25.09.89, Clitheroe, Lancashire – Bath
Freyja Prentice – 20.05.90, Inverurie, near Aberdeen - Bath
 
Sam Curry – 03.09.93, Salfords, near Redhill – Bath
Luke Tasker – 28.01.94 – Waddington, Clitheroe, Lancashire - Bath
Tom Toolis – 23.12.92, Hornchurch, north east London- Bath
 

Steve Ballinger
Monday, 14th Apr 2014 2014-04-14 Tasker set for World Cup debut in China

Twenty-year-old Luke Tasker is set to make his Modern Pentathlon World Cup debut at this week’s competition in Chengdu, China.
 
Tasker is a member of a six-strong GB team competing at the event. He joins 20-year-old Sam Curry, who contests his fourth World Cup, and 21-year-old Tom Toolis, who competes at only his second World Cup, in a young GB men’s team.
 
London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Samantha Murray heads the GB women’s team. She is joined by Freyja Prentice and Kate French, who are ranked 17th and 19th in the world respectively.
 
Jan Bartu, Pentathlon GB Performance Director, said: “Chengdu will be another opportunity for selected athletes to score points for the pentathlon world ranking list and hopefully achieve positive results for the British rankings, which will be used to select the teams for the European and World Championships later in the season.”
 
Tasker, who is studying Sports Performance at the University of Bath, finished 27th at the International Budapest Cup in Hungary a week ago, where Curry was 22nd and Toolis 23rd.
 
French continued her strong performances over the last year by taking the silver medal in the women’s competition at the International Budapest Cup, finishing 26 seconds behind Hungary’s Sarolta Kovacs.
 
Samantha Murray came home sixth with Jo Muir seventh, Georgia Pipes 20th and Caroline Nickerson 25th.
 
Pentathlon GB is the national governing body for the Olympic sport of modern pentathlon and has its National Training Centre at the University of Bath.
 
Chengdu World Cup schedule
(please note: Chengdu time is seven hours ahead of UK time)
 
Wednesday: 16 April: women’s heats
Thursday 17 April: men’s heats
Friday 18 April: women’s final
Saturday 19 April: men’s final
Sunday 20 April: mixed relay
 
GB team for Chengdu
 
Kate French – 11.02.91, Meopham, Gravesend – Bath
Samantha Murray – 25.09.89, Clitheroe, Lancashire – Bath
Freyja Prentice – 20.05.90, Inverurie, near Aberdeen - Bath
 
Sam Curry – 03.09.93, Salfords, near Redhill – Bath
Luke Tasker – 28.01.94 – Waddington, Clitheroe, Lancashire - Bath
Tom Toolis – 23.12.92, Hornchurch, north east London- Bath

Steve Ballinger
Monday, 14th Apr 2014 2014-04-14 Muir wins gold and Choong silver at junior international

Two young British pentathletes produced strong performances to secure podium places at the Milan Kadlec Memorial junior international competition in Prague at the weekend.