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Cohen Honors Military Olympians

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2000 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen congratulated U.S. military Olympians Nov. 28 for their efforts in Sydney, Australia.

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Defense Secretary William S. Cohen praises military Olympians and cites their "nobility of spirit" for their contributions to the Sydney Summer Games. Photo by Jim Garamone.

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Cohen and Deputy Defense Secretary Rudy De Leon met with the athletes and thanked them for the way they represented America’s military at the 2000 Games.

Cohen told the athletes that they learn things as athletes that serve them well as service members. “All the things one learns while participating in athletics -- discipline, sacrifice, the fact that you have to play by the rules, winning, losing is preparation for life itself,” he said.

He praised the athletes and said they exemplified what the ancient Greeks called “nobility of spirit.” He said all in DoD are proud “of the job you’ve done as great warriors and as great athletes.”

One military athlete won a medal during the Games. He was Army Sgt. 1st Class James Todd Graves who received a bronze in skeet shooting. Graves is a member of the Army Marksmanship Unit, Fort Benning, Ga.

The military Olympians came from a number of sports. The majority were shooters, but there were also two wrestlers, a modern pentathlete, a boxer and a rower.

Military shooters in addition to Graves, all also from the Army's Fort Benning unit were Spc. Bill Keever, Sgt. 1st Class Lance Dement, Sgt. Jason Parker, Sgt. Mike Schmidt, Staff Sgt. Ken Johnson, Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski, Sgt. 1st Class Tom Tamas, Capt. Glenn Dubis and Maj. Mike Anti.

Other Olympians were Army Spc. Chad Senior, modern pentathlon, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Army Staff Sgt. Olanda Anderson, boxing, Fort Carson, Colo.; Army Spc. Dawn Burrell, long jump, Fort Carson, Colo.; and Navy Petty Officer 1st class Steven Mays, wrestling, USS John F. Kennedy. Olympic rower Navy Ensign Henry Nuzum was absent from the ceremony.

Military coaches were Staff Sgt. Basheer Abdullah, boxing, Fort Carson, Colo.; Marine Capt. Jon Antonelli, wrestling, Quantico, Va.; retired Army Master Sgt. Bill Brilling, shooting, Fort Benning, Ga.; and Jerry Quiller, a track and field coach from the Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen thanks military Olympians for representing the armed forces so well during the Summer Games in Sydney. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageDefense Secretary William S. Cohen meets with military members of the U.S. Olympic team in his Pentagon office. Cohen thanked the Olympians Nov. 28 for representing the U.S. armed forces to the people of Australia. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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