By Liz MiklyaJune 19, 2008
NEW YORK, N.Y. (Army News Service, June 19, 2008) -- Army athletes hosted a fitness challenge Wednesday at the Times Square Recruiting Station, kicking off the road to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing.
The team of 11 Soldiers competed against Americans and tourists from around the world in contests of speed, strength and endurance. The Olympians faced off with the public in race-walking, push-up and jump-rope challenges.
The event featured three-time Olympian Staff Sgt. Libby Callahan, a 23-year U.S. Army Reserve Soldier, who will earn the distinction of the oldest U.S. female Olympian ever to compete at age 56. She stands a chance of becoming the oldest female Olympic medalist ever at the Summer Games.
"It's an honor to represent the country I am proud to serve," said Callahan, who will compete in the women's sports pistol event at the Summer Games. "The Army has not only provided me with the training and opportunities to succeed, it has given me the encouragement I need to go for the gold at the Olympics."
U.S. Army Marksman Maj. Michael Anti was also recognized at the event. Anti will make his fourth Olympic appearance at the Beijing Games. After earning a silver medal in the prone rifle event at the 2004 Games, Anti purchased a silver Corvette. He said his goal is to upgrade to a new gold model to match the medal he hopes to earn at the 2008 Games.
Other Soldier-athletes representing the U.S. Olympic team at the event included:
Aca,!Ac Staff Sgt. Dremiel Byers - Wrestling
Aca,!Ac Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Downs - Boxing
Aca,!Ac 1st Lt. Nathaniel Garcia - Track and Field
Aca,!Ac Sgt. John Nunn - Race Walking
Aca,!Ac Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker-Air Rifle and Three-Position Rifle
Aca,!Ac Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski-Men's 50-Meter Free Pistol
Aca,!Ac Pfc. Vincent Hancock-Skeet
Aca,!Ac Spc. Jeffrey Holguin-Double Trap
Aca,!Ac Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III-Double Trap
"We coach elite-level athletes who already have a high level of discipline from their Army experience." said Capt. Dominic Black, commander of the Army's World Class Athlete Program. "By providing these athletes with the best training, coaching, equipment and overall support, the Army is preparing them for victory at the Olympics and beyond."
The Soldiers, including track and field athletes, world-class wrestlers, marksmen and more, are the latest in a storied line of 644 Army athletes that have participated in the Games since 1948.
The Army's WCAP is comprised of Soldier-athletes in a variety of sports who demonstrate the potential to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Team. Soldiers who apply to the program must have recently attained a high national ranking or placed high at a major national or international event. Soldiers in the WCAP have earned 131 Olympic medals since 1948.
The Army Marksmanship Unit, which is sending six shooters to Beijing, has gained worldwide respect by winning hundreds of individual and team national shooting titles, more than 40 World Championships and 21 Olympic medals. Since the AMU was established in 1956, its shooters have won more than half of all medals earned by U.S. shooters.
To learn more about the U.S. Army athletes and training, visit www.armyathletesolympians.com.