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Military Olympians Visit Pentagon

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 22, 2002 – Eleven military members who represented the United States in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, visited the Pentagon today.

Four of the visitors were sporting Olympic medals. Army National Guard Spc. Jill Bakken won gold as the driver of the USA-2 two-place women's bobsled team. Three members of the men's four-man bobsled team that took the bronze are also in the military and were present today: Army Spcs. Mike Kohn and Doug Sharp, and Army National Guard Spc. Dan Steele.

"It's great to have that (military) representation, (and) lovely to have the medals," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said in greeting the athletes. "But being on the team itself is a great achievement."

Wolfowitz got a laugh when Bakken asked if he wanted to hold her medal after he remarked that he'd never seen an Olympic gold medal.

"Yeah, I do want to hold it," Wolfowitz retorted. "It's gorgeous."

Wolfowitz gave each athlete hearty congratulations and a coin. The athletes presented the deputy secretary with a Team U.S.A. athletic jacket. Wolfowitz also accepted a collage of portraits of 2002 military Olympians on behalf of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageMilitary members of the U.S. 2002 Winter Olympic Team pose for a photo with Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz during a Pentagon visit April 22. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA.   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDeputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz admires Army National Guard Spc. Jill Bakken's Olympic gold medal in the Pentagon April 22. Bakken was the driver of the gold-medal-winning USA-2 2-man women's bobsled team. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA.   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDeputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz accepts a collage of portraits of 2002 military Olympians from Spc. Mike Kohn, a member of the bronze-medal-winning USA-2 four-man bobsled team. Wolfowitz accepted the collage on behalf of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA.   
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageSpc. Jeremy Teela, a biathlete, presents Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz with a Team USA jacket in the Pentagon April 22 as Spc. Mike Kohn looks on. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA.   
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