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National Guard Soldier Takes Olympic Silver Medal

By Sgt. Jim Greenhill, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2006 – A National Guard soldier earned a silver medal in women's bobsledding Feb. 21 during her Olympic debut at the 20th Winter Olympics in Italy.

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Utah Army National Guard Spc. Shauna Rohbock drove the USA-1 sled to second place, and a silver medal, in women's bobsledding during the 20th Winter Olympics in Italy on Jan. 21. Rohbock is a member of the Army's World Class Athlete Program. Valerie Fleming was her brakeman. Photo by Jack Gillund

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Utah Army National Guard Spc. Shauna Rohbock, the driver of the two-woman USA-1 sled, and brakeman Valerie Fleming completed their four women's bobsled runs in 3 minutes, 50.69 seconds. That was .71 second behind the gold-medal winning German team of Sandra Kiriasis and Anja Schneiderheinza. An Italian team took the bronze.

"I'm ecstatic, and I hope our four-man team can pull one out, too," Rohbock told Army News Service.

"Shauna not only brings honor to her home state, but to the thousands who wear the uniform," Utah Gov. Jon M. Huntsman Jr. said. "We are proud of her accomplishments."

Rohbock could be establishing a National Guard tradition: She follows in the footsteps of Utah National Guard Spc. Jill Bakken, who drove the gold-medal winning sled when women's bobsledding was introduced as an Olympic sport during the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.

"We congratulate Specialist Rohbock on her silver-medal performance in Torino," Maj. Gen. Brian Tarbet, the Utah National Guard's adjutant general, said. "We are extremely pleased and proud of her accomplishments on the bobsled track and her willingness to serve on the battlefield. Her sense of duty, persistence and tenacity personify what is best about all of our citizen-soldiers and airmen in the Utah National Guard."

Rohbock and Bakken, an alternate on this year's U.S. women's bobsled team, enlisted together in the Utah Army Guard in 2000. The team's head coach is also a National Guard soldier -- Spc. Bill Tavares, a New York Army Guard infantryman.

Rohbock, 28, recently re-enlisted, Utah Guard spokesman Army Maj. Hank McIntire said.

"She's been very proud to say that she's part of the military," Chuck Rohbock, Shauna's father, said after she had earned the silver medal. "She was a soldier first. She was ready to go."

Rohbock was called up for duty in Iraq with the 115th Engineer Group in 2003. Though her duffle bags were packed and she did pre-deployment training, a torn rotator cuff prevented her from going with her unit.

Chuck Rohbock said his daughter told him that knowing her fellow soldiers were serving in Iraq motivated her to do her best in the Olympics. "I've got to do well because everybody in my unit has volunteered to go in my place," she told her father.

"The Guard -- everything about it, everybody she's been involved with -- has been so supportive. They've been so wonderful," Chuck Rohbock said. "We're just very proud of her," he said. "I felt that she would medal. I just didn't know how. Shauna's never done anything halfway. She's always trained hard. She's always been a self-starter."

An administrative specialist at Joint Forces Headquarters of the Utah National Guard, Rohbock is a graduate of Mountain View High School and Brigham Young University.

"Shauna has always demanded a lot of herself," Linda Rohbock Rowland, Shauna's aunt, said. "We are totally full of emotion. We are thrilled and proud. Sometimes good guys do win. We have watched her prepare for this day for the last eight years. It was heartbreaking when she lost her spot on the 2002 team, but she is a very focused, persistent and tenacious person. She has always paid the price in whatever she has participated in."

Rohbock lost her place as Bakken's brakeman to Vonetta Flowers for the 2002 games in Utah and watched from the sidelines as that U.S. team won the gold medal.

Rohbock's athletic prowess is not limited to bobsledding. She played soccer for BYU, where she was the nation's highest-scoring sophomore, and professionally for the San Diego Spirit.

"Being a coach and involved with athletics all my life, I know what Shauna has gone through to prepare," Fred Rowland, Shauna's uncle, said. "There has definitely been a higher power involved in her life to help her get where she is today."

Rohbock grew up in Orem, Utah, and lives in Park City. Her parents are Chuck and Myrna Rohbock, and she has five sisters and one brother.

(Some information from NBCOlympics.com. Army Sgt. Jim Greenhill is assigned to the National Guard Bureau.)

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageUtah Army National Guard Spc. Shauna Rohbock (right), a member the Army's World Class Athlete Program, and Valerie Fleming started fast on the Cesana track and earned the silver medal in women's bobsledding on Jan. 21 during the 20th Winter Olympics in Italy. Rohbock was the driver for the USA-1 sled and was competing in her first Olympic Games. Photo by Jack Gillund  
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