By Maj. Carlos CuebasAugust 11, 2016
RIO DE JANEIRO -- For Army Olympian Spc. Dan Lowe, participating in the 2016 Olympic Games is a dream come true.
"It is over the top. Definitively one of the greatest things I ever experienced in my life," Lowe said. "A lot of people are surprised to know there is a group of Soldier-Athletes here."
As a member of the Army's elite Army Marksmanship Unit based in Fort Benning, Georgia, Lowe had his Olympic debut here in Rio on Monday, Aug 8, when he competed in the 10 Meter Air Rifle shooting event at the Deodoro Olympic Shooting facility.
"It was a lot of pressure, but I believe I did some of the best shooting of my life," Lowe said shortly after finishing the competition.
"I worked hard, and I learned a lot from my first Olympic match. It is all mental preparation. If I am not working every single shot, it's not going to happen."
He finished with 620 points, which is not high enough to send him to the finals, but he will compete again on Sunday, Aug 14, in the Three-Position Rifle event.
Not long ago, it looked unlikely Lowe would ever make the U.S. Olympic team. In two previous World Cups in 2015, he finished in 60th and 70th place. Nevertheless, at the Olympic Trials in June, after a year of hard work, he earned one of only two available air rifle seats on the U.S. Olympic Shooting Team.
"Everything that I learned in the Army is helping me during my first Olympics," said Lowe. "The training, the values and the dedication that I learned in the Army, not only make me a better shooter, but a better person."
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker, USAMA Rifle team coach, said that, even though Lowe didn't qualify for the finals, he was still pleased with his performance.
"All the work he put into preparing for the Olympics showed today with an outstanding start for the match," he said. "Lowe represented the United States and the U.S. Army extremely well.
And Lowe was optimistic about his next competition.
"Half of the pressure is gone now," he said with clear determination as he departed the shooting facility.
"I will take the lessons learned from today's event and come back more motivated, more dedicated, stronger as a better shooter. It will be another opportunity for greatness."