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U.S. Athletes Place Seventh in Military World Games

By Rudi Williams
American Forces Press Service

BALTIMORE, Md., Aug. 26, 1999 – When more than 350 Military World Games athletes and officials stepped off the plane Aug. 18 at Baltimore-Washington International Airport they were greeted by a crowd of yelling, flag-waving supporters courtesy of the USO.

The Americans finished a respectable seventh overall out of 78 countries competing Aug. 5-17 in the second Military World Games in Zagreb, Croatia. The Americans brought home 29 medals -- eight gold, 10 silver and eight bronzes, andalso gold medals and a bronze in rowing, an exhibition sport this year.

Fifty-one countries won medals. Russia dominated the competition with 112 -- 46 gold, 35 silver and 31 bronze. China came in second with 78 medals: 30 gold, 22 silver and 16 bronze. Italy was third with 72 medals: 20 gold, 26 silver and 26 bronze.

The Military World Games, held every four years, are sponsored by the International Military Sports Council, known as CISM for its French name, Conseil International du Sport Militaire. The council began conducting athletic competitions in 1948 and today has 121 member nations. Its first world meet was in 1995 in Rome.

The U.S. team attended under the auspices of DoD's Armed Forces Sports Council.

"Our athletes did really well, but I think we could have done better if more of us had an opportunity to train together," said Air Force 1st Lt. Shannon L. Goff, 24, who brought home a gold medal in the 200-meter obstacle swim and a silver in the life- saving and rescue competition. She found out she'd made the swim team in May and trained alone for the competition.

"We were a little skeptical on the way over there because we didn't know what to expect," said Goff, a 1997 Air Force Academy graduate stationed at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho. "But the people were nice to us and most of them spoke English. They tried very hard to help us out with anything we needed."

She said the Americans made friends with people from other countries and exchanged e-mail addresses and telephone numbers to keep in contact with each other. "Meeting people from different militaries was an amazing experience, probably something we'll never have a chance to do again," she said.

Volleyball player Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Goldbaugh, 27, said, "We did OK. We won one game in a best three out of five against the Netherlands.

He said spectators packed the stands at all the events. "I met a lot of interesting people and learned a lot about other militaries," said Goldbaugh, of the 962nd Airborne Control Squadron, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska. "We had a real good time just talking about how things are in their countries, how their armed forces work. That's friendship through sports."

Adrienne Schultz of the USO said she arranged the welcome home to give the athletes some red carpet treatment "to show how much we appreciate their efforts."The director of the airport's new USO International Gateway Lounge, Schultz assembled USO volunteers, airport workers and air travelers and turned the athletes' arrival into a pep rally with cheers, applause and little waving American flags. She then invitedthe athletes to a reception in the lounge, which hasn't officially opened yet.

U.S. winners were: Gold medalists (8):

Lifesaving (1) -- Air Force 1st Lt. Shannon Goff, 200-meter obstacle swim.

Naval Pentathlon (4)

-- Men's and women's combined team overall

-- Navy Ensigns Bridget Stamp and Lynn Fodrea, women's team event.

-- Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Montford, Petty Officer 2nd Class Joe Dulin, Petty Officer 2nd Class Bernd Haferkamp and Lt. Chris Haggerty, men's team event.

-- Stamp, individual women's event.

Parachuting (1)

-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Cheryl Stearns, women's accuracy event.

Shooting (1)

-- Army Sgt. Troy Bassham, 300-meter standard rifle event.

-- Team standings in 300-meter standard rifle and 300-m rapid-fire rifle events.

Silver Medalists (10):

Basketball (1)

-- Men's team

Boxing(2) -- Army Sgt. Bradley Martinez, 48-kilogram weight class. -- Army Staff Sgt. Orlando Anderson, 81-kilogram.

Lifesaving (3)

-- Air Force 2nd Lt. Connie Cann, 200-meter obstacle swim event.

-- Navy Ensign Britton Smith, 200-meter obstacle swim event.

-- Goff, 100-meter "saving a dummy" with fins event.

Naval Pentathlon (1)

-- Montford, individual men's event.

Parachuting (1)

-- Stearns, women's individual overall.

Shooting (1)

-- Army Sgt. 1st Class Tom Tamas, 300-meter rapid-fire rifle event.

Track and Field(1)

-- Army Spc. Darrin Steele, decathlon.

Bronze Medalists (8)

Lifesaving (1)

-- Cann, 50-meter "saving a dummy" rescue event.

Marathon (1)

-- Air Force Maj. Kim Markland

Naval Pentathlon

-- Fodrea, individual women's event.

Shooting (1) Army Maj. Steven Goff, 300-meter standard rifle event.

Taekwondo (2)

-- Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Evans, women's 59- kilogram class.

-- Army Sgt. Andrew Roberts, men's 72-kilogram.

Triathlon (1)

-- Coast Guard Lt. Amy Baribeau, Navy Ensign Kathleen Baldwin, Marine Corps Capt. Karen Krajicek and Air Force Capt. Heidi McKenna, women's team event.

Wrestling (1)

-- Marine Corps Sgt. Marcel Cooper, Greco-Roman 69-kilogram.

Rowing (exhibition sport)

Gold: Navy Ensign Laurie Coffey and Army 1st Lt. Sabrina Cayton, women's doubles

Gold: Cayton and Air Force 1st Lt. Amy McCoy, women's pair

Bronze: McCoy, women's singles

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageUSO volunteer Zella Brown [left] and Emily Bishop hold the USO banner, wave American flags and cheer as U.S. military athletes return from the second Military World Games in Zagreb, Croatia. The USO held the welcome home ceremony to show appreciation for the athletes' efforts in representing America. Photo by Rudi Williams.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageTaekwondo expert Army Sgt. Paul Nelson receives a small American flag from Jasmine Dessaure, 10, as he enters the terminal at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. Nelson placed fifth in the karate competition in the second Military World Games in Zagreb, Croatia. Dessaure and her brother, Dalyn, 7, had been awaiting the arrival of their aunt when recruited by the USO to be part of a welcoming committee for the returning U.S. athletes. Photo by Rudi Williams.  
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