Military Bolsters Team USA for Athens Games
By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2004 Twenty-four military competitors will represent Team USA in the Summer Olympic Games at Athens, Greece, Aug. 13 through 29.
Spc. Hattie Johnson, a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship
Unit from Athol, Idaho, will compete Aug. 14 in 10-meter air rifle shooting in
the Summer Olympic Games at Athens, Greece. Photo by Tim Hipps
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
First Lt. Chad Senior, a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, will compete Aug. 26 in modern pentathlon, a five-sport event that includes pistol shooting, fencing, swimming, equestrian riding and cross-country running.
Senior 29, of North Fort Myers, Fla., finished sixth in the event in the 2000 Olympics at Sydney, Australia. He was leading after three events before a skittish horse refused two jumps in the equestrian event, ruining his golden moment.
"I don't think the same thing can happen now; I'm a much stronger rider than I was in 2000," said Senior, who returned to the sport after 18 months of soul searching following his heartbreaker in Australia. "I just hope I can have the same day I had in Sydney, aside from the ride."
One day after Senior's grueling event, Army Capt. Anita Allen, 26, of Star City, Ind., will compete in the women's modern pentathlon.
Sgt. Oscar Wood, 29, an Army WCAP wrestler from Gresham, Ore., defeated five- time national champion and 2000 Olympian Kevin Bracken of New York Athletic Club in the finals of the 66-kilogram/145.5-pound Greco-Roman division of the U.S. Olympic Wrestling Team Trials to earn an Olympic berth. Wood, who will wrestle Aug. 24 and 25, will have another soldier in his corner. Staff Sgt. Shon Lewis, 37, of Oakland, Calif., is one of three Greco-Roman coaches for Team USA. He has led All-Army wrestlers to three of the past four Greco national team titles and has twice been named Greco-Roman Coach of the Year by USA Wrestling.
Army Staff Sgt. Basheer Abdullah, 41, of St. Louis, is the head coach for Team USA's boxers. He served as technical coach in the 2000 Sydney Games and will be assisted in Athens by Anthony Bradley, a retired Army master sergeant from Newport News, Va., and former WCAP coach who handled Abdullah during his career in the ring.
Capt. Matt Smith, 26, an Army WCAP rower from Woodbridge, Va., will team with civilians Steve Warner of Livonia, Mich., two-time Olympian Paul Teti of Upper Darby, Pa., and Cincinnati's Pat Todd on Team USA's lightweight four that begins rowing Aug. 15 with a chance to compete again Aug. 17, 19 and 21 in the B final or Aug. 22 in the A final.
"I hope to succeed on the water, but also to represent the Army, MWR and WCAP in a positive light and show the world that the U.S. is one of the better countries out there in rowing and in general to show what freedom will do for you," Smith said. "It allows you to succeed."
Team USA also will feature Navy Ensign Henry Nuzum, 27, a two-time Olympian from Chapel Hill, N.C., who will team with Aquil Abdullah of Washington, D.C., in men's double sculls. They begin rowing Aug. 16 with the A final Aug. 22.
Oregon National Guard Capt. Dan Browne, 29, of Portland, Ore., qualified for the Olympics by finishing third in the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes and 2 seconds. He will run the marathon, the final competitive event of the Games, Aug. 29.
Browne, a West Point graduate and former member of Army's WCAP, secured a second Olympic berth by finishing third in the 10,000 meters with a time of 28:07.47 in the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Team Trials at Sacramento, Calif. Should he decide to double in Greece, Browne will run the 10K Aug. 20.
Army Sgt. John Nunn, 26, of Evansville, Ind., earned an Olympic berth with a second-place finish in the 20-kilometer race walk with a time of 1:26:23 in the U.S. Track and Field Team Trials. Air Force Capt. Kevin Eastler, 26, a missile combat crew commander stationed at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne, Wyo., also made the team by finishing third in 1:28:49. They will compete Aug. 20.
Also in track and field, Air Force 1st Lt. James Parker, 28, a native of Great Falls, Mont., stationed at Malmstrom Air Force Base in his home state, will throw the hammer in qualifying rounds Aug. 20 with the final Aug. 22. Parker won the event in the U.S. Track and Field Team Trials with a throw of 77.58 meters -- 254 feet, 6 inches -- and will be the only American in the field.
Air Force 2nd Lt. Weston "Seth" Kelsey, 22, of Santa Monica, Calif., will fence in men's individual epee Aug. 17 and team epee Aug. 22. Kelsey, a 2003 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, is a two-time national champion.
Army Reserve Maj. David Johnson, 40, a native of Mount Holly, N.J., who lives in Colorado Springs, Colo., is a WCAP shooting coach and 15-year member of the U.S. National Rifle Team who competed in the 1992 Barcelona Games. He will serve as Team USA's rifle coach Aug. 14 through 22 at Markopoulo Olympic Shooting Centre.
Four-time Olympian Sgt. 1st Class James "Todd" Graves, 41, of Laurel, Miss., became the first U.S. men's skeet shooter since 1984 to win an Olympic medal with a bronze in the 2000 Sydney Games. He will compete Aug. 22.
"I'm doing this for my family in green and I've decided that if I get a medal this time that I'm going to dedicate it to the troops," Graves said. "Every time I break a target or stand on a podium to get a medal, I'm dedicating it to all those guys and gals over there. That's the least I can do."
Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Dulohery, 39, a world champion from Lee's Summit, Mo., downed 25 consecutive targets in the final round to edge Graves in the men's skeet competition in the U.S. Olympic Shotgun Team Trials at Fort Benning, Ga., home of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit. "Hopefully in Athens, we'll both bring something of color home," Dulohery said. "Just going through it together is going to be a big plus."
Two-time Olympian Sgt. 1st Class Bret Erickson, 43, of Bennington, Neb., will compete in men's trap and double trap shotgun shooting Aug. 14 and 17, respectively.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker, 30, a world record-holder from Omaha, Neb., finished fifth in air rifle at the Sydney Games, missing a bronze medal by seven-tenths of a point. He seeks redemption Aug. 16.
Maj. Michael Anti, a USAMU member attached to WCAP who recently won a national championship, will compete in 50-meter prone and 50-meter three-position rifle shooting Aug. 20 and 22 respectively.
Three-time Olympian Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Elizabeth "Libby" Callahan, 52, of Upper Marlboro, Md., will compete Aug. 15 in 10-meter air pistol and Aug. 18 in 25-meter sport pistol. She is the oldest member of Team USA.
Spc. Hattie Johnson, 22, of Athol, Idaho, will compete Aug. 14 in women's 10- meter air rifle, the first event of the Games. Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski will compete later that day in men's 10-meter air pistol shooting.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles Gartland, 39, of Bardstown, Ky., will serve as Team USA's gunsmith.
(Tim Hipps is assigned to U.S. Army Community and Family Support Center Public Affairs.)