Military Olympians Head to Athens Seeking Gold
By Samantha L. Quigley
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2004 After years of hard work, only days remain before the athletes take center stage at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens.
Thousands of athletes have begun arriving and checking into the Olympic Village, with opening ceremonies scheduled Aug. 13. Twenty-one military athletes and coaches are on the U.S. Olympic team.
Army Staff Sgt. Basheer Abdullah, 41, of St. Louis, will travel to Athens as the head coach for the 2004 Olympic boxing team. He served as adviser for the U.S. boxing team in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and was named 2002 Coach of the Year. Abdullah became the Army's head coach in 1996, three years after he retired from the ring.
Air Force 2nd Lt. Seth Kelsey, 22, of Brush Prairie, Wash., will compete in the Men's Epee fencing event. He is a 2003 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he earned a degree in behavioral science. He has earned Senior "A" World Cup bronze medals in Tallin, Estonia, in 2002 and Havana in 2003.
Army Capt. Anita Allen, 26, of Star City, Ind., is a 2000 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where she earned a degree in environmental engineering. She began competing in the pentathlon at the age of 23 and took 1st place at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
Army 2nd Lt. Chad Senior, 29, of North Fort Myers, Fla., is a 1997 graduate of George Washington University, where he earned a degree in exercise science. He began competing in the pentathlon at the age of 22 and participated in the 2000 Olympics.
Navy Lt. j.g. Henry Nuzum, 27, of Chapel Hill, N.C., will compete in the men's double sculls. He is a 1999 graduate of Harvard University and completed graduate work at the Navy's Surface Warfare Officer School. Nuzum is a four- time senior national team member and two-time Olympian, and is now affiliated with the Princeton Training Center.
Army Capt. Matt Smith, 26, of Woodbridge, Va., will compete in the men's lightweight four event. Smith is a 2000 graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Army ranger and airborne schools. He also is a five-time senior national team member and a first-time Olympian.
Army Maj. Michael E. Anti, 40, of Winterville, N.C., will participate in the 3- position and prone rifle events. He holds a business degree from West Virginia University. Anti is a three-time Olympian, having competed in the 1992 and 2000 games. His father is a rifle coach for the Marine Corps and U.S. Naval Academy.
U.S. Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Callahan, 52, of Columbia, S.C., will compete in the air pistol event. She has competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic games and is a lieutenant in the patrol department of the Washington, D.C., police department. Callahan is a five-time women's police revolver champion and a four-time women's police service revolver champion.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Dulohery, 39, of Lee's Summit, Mo., will compete in the skeet event. He earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Park College in Missouri and was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga., when he enlisted in the Army in 1989.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Bret Erickson, 43, of Bennington, Neb., will compete in the trap and double trap shotgun events. He is a three-time Olympian, having competed in the 1992 and 1996 games. Erickson is a five-time national champion and set two world records at the 1990 World Championships in Moscow.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Charles P. Gartland, 39, of Buena Vista, Ga., will travel to Athens as the team's gunsmith. He was selected from numerous applicants because of his combination of school training and practical application. Gartland joined the Army in 1986 and was assigned to the Army Marksmanship Unit as a gunsmith in 1991.
Army Reserve Maj. David Johnson, 40, of Mount Holly, N.J., will travel to Athens as the shooting team's rifle coach. The 1992 Olympian earned a bachelor's degree in finance from West Virginia University in 1982. Johnson, a 15-year member of the National Rifle Team, left active duty and joined the reserves in 2000. Returning to active duty in 2002, Johnson was assigned to the Army's World Class Athlete Program and selected as rifle coach for the U.S. national team.
Army Spec. Hattie Johnson, 23, of Athol, Idaho, will compete in the women's air rifle event. She was a bronze medalist in the 3x20 at the 2003 Pan Am Games and took 3rd in the 3x20 and 2nd in the air rifle at the National Championships.
Army Sgt. Jason Parker 30, of Cusseta, Ga., will compete in the men's air rifle event. He took 5th in the air rifle at the 2000 Olympics. Parker earned a psychology degree from Xavier University in 1996. Parker won gold in 3x40 at the 2003 Pan Am Games and in air rifle at the 2003 Munich World Cup.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski, 36, of Saginaw, Mich., will compete in the men's air and free pistol events. He was the gold medalist in free pistol at the 2003 Pan Am Games and the 2003 free pistol National Champion. Szarenski studied industrial technology at Tennessee Tech University on a rifle scholarship. He was a member of the school's pistol and rifle teams.
Track and Field
Army National Guard Capt. Dan Browne, 29, of Portland, Ore., will participate in the marathon and 10,000 meter events. Browne graduated from West Point in 1997 with a major in English and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese. He began running as a junior in high school, but didn't focus on distance events until his junior year in college.
Air Force Capt. Kevin Eastler, 26, of Farmington, Maine, will compete in the 20-kilometer race walk. He graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with a degree in mechanical engineering. While he placed second in the 2000 Olympic trials, he was denied a spot in the games because he failed to earn an "A" qualifying time. At this year's trials he placed third with a time of 1:28:49.
Army Sgt. John Nunn, 26, of Chula Vista, Calif., will compete in the 20- kilometer race walk. He is pursuing a major in chemistry at Southwestern Community College, with a goal of advancing to pre-dentistry. Nunn edged out teammate Eastler in the 2004 Olympic trials, placing 2nd with a time of 1:26:23.
Air Force 1st Lt. James Parker, 28, of Great Falls, Mont., will compete in the hammer throw. He majored in exercise science at Utah State, were he was a state discus champion and two-time state shot put champ. Parker placed 1st in the 2004 Olympic trials and was the 2003 USA Outdoor champion.
Army Staff Sgt. Shon Lewis, 37, is the head coach for the Army's WCAP wrestlers and will travel to Athens as one of three Greco-Roman wrestling coaches for Team USA. He is a four-time national champion and 13-time armed forces champion. USA Wrestling selected Lewis as Greco-Roman Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003.
Army Sgt. Oscar Wood, 29, of Fort Carson, Colo., will compete in the 66 kilogram class of the Greco-Roman event. He attended Oregon State, where he majored in behavioral science. Wood was the 2004 Olympic trials champion and came in 2nd at the 2004 U.S. nationals.
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Casey Tibbs, 23, of Austin, Texas will compete in the pentathlon and the 400-, 200- and 100-meter events during the Paralympics, to be held in September in Athens. Tibbs graduated with honors from the Defense Language Institute. He lost his right foot in a motorcycle accident in 2001. Tibbs is ranked No. 2 in the world in the 400-meter event with a time of 53.14.
Unless otherwise noted, each athlete is participating in his or her service's World Class Athlete Program.