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USA Gold Medalists that You should know

A few of you have sent stories about our military Olympians.

I believe that the first gold medal won by the USA was not by a swimmer or gymnast.  It was a US Army Specialist shooting double trap.


U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit shotgun shooter Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III takes his final shot to secure a gold medal with an Olympic record score of 190 in double trap Aug. 12, 2008, in Beijing. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps.

Soldier Sets Two Olympic Records En Route to Double Trap Gold
By Tim Hipps
Special to American Forces Press Service

BEIJING, Aug. 13, 2008 – Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III, of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, set two Olympic records en route to winning a gold medal in double trap at the Beijing Shooting Range here yesterday.

Marksmanship unit teammate Spc. Jeffrey Holguin finished fourth in the event.

Eller’s score of 145 in the qualification rounds eclipsed the previous Olympic record of 144 set in the 2004 Athens Games by United Arab Emirates shooter Ahmed Almaktoum, who finished seventh in Beijing.

In double trap, competitors fire their 12-gauge shotguns from five adjacent shooting stations. At each station, two targets are thrown simultaneously from an underground bunker at speeds up to 50 mph at set angles and height. The targets are thrown with a variable delay of up to one second, and competitors get one shot per target.

“I realized with my last pair to go, ‘Oh, the Olympic record is only 144. If I hit my last pair, I’m going to get the Olympic record.’”

When Eller did that, he said, he sensed he was on his way to a spectacular day. He missed his first two targets in the final, but settled down and missed only three shots the rest of the way.

“If you shoot the Olympic record [in qualification rounds] and you’ve got a little bit of a lead, you expect to come out with gold,” Eller said. “But after I went out there [in the final] and missed that first pair, it was a little dicey there for a second, but I brought it all back together.”...

More here.

And here's another military Olympian and gold medalist:


Olympic skeet gold medal winner Pfc. Vincent Hancock (center) of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, is flanked by silver medalist Tore Bovold (left) of Norway and bronze medalist Anthony Terras (right) of Italy on the podium, Aug. 16, 2008, in Beijing.    U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps.

You can click here to go to the official DoD Military Olympian website.