Bolton's Gold is Only Military Medal in Atlanta
By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Aug. 6, 1996 Army Reserve 1st Lt. Ruthie Bolton, a guard with the U.S. women's Olympic basketball team, earned DoD's only medal -- a gold -- at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Bolton, last assigned in Mobile, Ala., claimed her gold medal as the United States defeated Brazil 111-87 in the finals Aug. 4. The U.S. women's squad went undefeated, winning eight games, averaging 102 points a contest and beating their opponents by nearly 29 points per game.
One of the Team USA's outside shooting threats, Bolton averaged 12.8 points per game, hitting 36 of 81 shots from the floor (44 percent). She scored 21 points in her best offensive game -- a 98-65 U.S. victory over Ukraine in the preliminaries.
Bolton's medal matches the medal count U.S. military athletes earned at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. There, Army Spc. Rodney Smith earned a bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling. Smith competed in Atlanta, but failed to medal.
Two military athletes on the American team handball team completed competition Aug. 2, when the United States defeated Algeria 27-26 in overtime. Air Force 1st Lt. David DeGraaf's fired the game winner as the horn sounded, giving the United States the win.
"A game-winning shot like that is something every player dreams of," said DeGraaf, who scored three goals in the U.S. victory. "That game-winning shot was one of my dreams come true. I couldn't believe it."
The overtime victory marked the first time the United States had ever won two handball games in an Olympic competition. Army 1st Lt. Mike Thornberry added a goal, scoring the tying goal at the end of regulation that sent the game into overtime.
The men's handball team went 1-4 in divisional play, with losses to Sweden, Croatia, Russia and Switzerland. DeGraff, held to three goals in four games, exploded for 13 goals in the only U.S. victory, a 29-24 win against Kuwait.
The Olympics ended July 27 for Marine Corps Cpl. Tom Gough of Camp Pendleton, Calif. The Marine weightlifter set American Olympic records in the 201-pound weight class, lifting a combined 808.5 pounds (367.5 kilograms). However, Gough's total was good enough for only 14th place. Russia's Alexsey Petrov claimed the gold medal with a lift of 885.5 pounds (402.5 kilograms).
That same day also ended hopes for U.S. military rifle, pistol and shotgun competitors at the Wolf Creek Shooting Complex in Atlanta. Army Capts. Rob Harbison and Glenn Dubis of Fort Benning, Ga., finished sixth and 10th respectively in their final event -- the men's three-position 50-meter air rifle.
Harbison, who finished seventh in the 10-meter air rifle last week, fired a qualifying round 1,170 -- only two points shy of Finland's Juha Hirvi's 1992 Olympic record. It also earned him his second finals berth. He then fired a final round 97.7 out of 109 possible points -- good for a total score 1,267.7.
However, France's Jean-Pierre Amat took the gold medal, setting a new Olympic record in the preliminaries (1,175) and in the finals (1,273.9) Six shooters, including Harbison, broke the old finals Olympic record of 1,267.4.
Another top 10 finisher was Air Force Maj. Bill Roy, who grabbed ninth in men's skeet. The Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., officer shot a qualifying round 121 out of 125, missing the final round by one point. Roy's teammate, Army Sgt. Todd Graves of Fort Benning, finished tied for 15th with a qualifying round 120.
Three Army Reserve shooters also ended their competition last week without a medal. Capt. John McNally of Heath, Texas, finished 12th in the men's rapid-fire pistol competition. Army Staff Sgt. Eric Uptagrafft of Fairmont, W. Va., finished tied for 30th in the men's 50-meter free rifle prone, hitting 592 out of 600 targets. Washington, D.C.'s Staff Sgt. Libby Callahan finished tied for 23rd place in women's 25-meter sport pistol competition, scoring 573 points out of a possible 600.
Final results of U.S. military athletes competing at the
1996 Summer Olympic Games, held July 19 to Aug. 4 in Atlanta.
Gold Medal -- First Place
1st Lt. Ruthie Bolton (A), Army Reserve, Mobile, Ala., U.S. women's basketball.
Sgt. Terry Wentzel Dewitt (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- women's double trap.
Capt. Rob Harbison (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- men's three position 50-meter air rifle.
Capt. Rob Harbison (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- men's
10-meter air rifle.
Staff Sgt. Derrick Waldroup (A), Fort Benning, Ga., Greco-Roman wrestling -- 198 pounds (4 wins, 2 losses).
Spc. David Alcoriza (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- men's double trap.
Maj. William Roy (AF), Holloman Air Force Base, N.M., shooting -- men's skeet.
Capt. Glenn Dubis (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- men's three position 50-meter air rifle.
Capt. John McNally (A), Army Reserve, Heath, Texas, shooting -- 12th place men's 50-meter rapid fire pistol.
Cpl. Tom Gough (MC), Camp Pendleton, Calif., weightlifting -- finished 14th, 201 pound weight class.
Sgt. Todd Graves (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- men's skeet -- 15th.
Staff Sgt. Bret Erickson (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- finished 20th in men's trap.
Staff Sgt. Libby Callahan (A), Army Reserve, Washington, shooting -- finished 23rd in women's 25-meter sport pistol.
Sgt. Ben Amonette (A), Radford, Va., shooting -- finished 25th in men's 50-meter free pistol; finished 44th in men's 10-meter air pistol.
Sgt. Eric Uptagrafft (A), Army Reserve, Fairmont, W. Va., shooting -- finished 30th in men's 50-meter prone rifle.
Capt. Glenn Dubis (A), Fort Benning, Ga., shooting -- finished 41st in men's 10-meter air rifle.
Spc. Rodney Smith (A), Fort Benning, Ga., Greco-Roman Wrestling -- 149.5 pounds (two wins, two losses).
1st Lt. David DeGraff (AF), Atlanta Military Entrance Processing Station, team handball -- 16 goals in five games. Team finished with 1-5 record and fifth place in pool A" and ninth overall.
1st Lt. Michael Thornberry (A), Atlanta Recruiting Battalion, team handball -- five goals in five games. Team finished with 1-5 record, fifth place in pool "A" and ninth overall.
U.S Men's Team Handball Results
Sweden 23, United States 19
Russia 31, United States 16
Croatia 35, United States 26
Switzerland 29, United States 20
United States 29, Kuwait 24
United States 27, Algeria 26 (OT)
U.S. Women Basketball
U.S. 101, Cuba 84 (Bolton 3-7 FG, 1-2 FT, 8 points)
U.S. 98, Ukraine 65 (Bolton 7-10 FG 5-5 FT, 21 points)
U.S. 107, Zaire 47 (Bolton 5-10 FG 2-2 FT, 15 points)
U.S. 96, Australia 79 (Bolton 3-11 FG, 0-3 FT, 7 points)
U.S. 105, South Korea 64 (Bolton 6-13 FG, 1-2 FT, 15 points)
U.S. 108, Japan 93 (Bolton 4-14 FG, 0-0 FT, 9 points)
U.S. 93, Australia 71 (Bolton 3-6 FG, 4-5 FT, 12 points)
U.S. 111, Brazil 87 (Bolton 5-10 FG 2-2 FT, 15 points)
(Army Sgt. 1st Class Douglas Ide of Soldiers magazine contributed
to this story.)