Meet a St Ives Character: John Vincent OAM
Meet John Vincent OAM – Australian Modern Pentathlon Champion, 2 x National Surfing Champ and Northshore resident!
Since age eight, the one thing that John Vincent was most certain of was that he wanted a life in the army. What he didn’t know as he enlisted at seventeen-years old was that the army would open the doors that allowed him to find his calling as an athlete.After the 1960 Rome Olympics, there was a call put out across the army for those interested in modern pentathlon, an event which comprises fencing, shooting, swimming, riding and cross-country running. John answered the call and embarked on the journey to learn fencing, pistol shooting, and worked to improve his swimming, running and horse-riding (he even got the mountain police to help with that one!).
While honing his skills, he was also the Sergeant Instructor at the Royal Military Collage in Duntroon for a number of areas such as physical training, military history and law, as well as coaching a number of teams such as fencing.
“It was an unbelievably rewarding role,” John recalls, smiling.
As if all that wasn’t enough, he also won two National Surfing Championships in 1962 and 1963. It’s safe to say that John kept himself pretty busy!
In 1965, John became the Australian champion for the modern pentathlon, representing Australia at both the 1966 and 1967 World Championships. Selection in the Olympic team came in 1968, but a post to Vietnam ruled him out from competing.
Even though he didn’t get to add the Olympics to his long list of achievements, John hit a number of great highs in both his sporting life, and his military career. Never one to slow down, don’t be surprised if you spot John at the gym or doing his daily laps in the pool! Perhaps he can introduce a version of the modern pentathlon into St Ives!
Read more articles from our latest edition of Thrive here.