By Maj. Christopher Ophardt August 12, 2016
WASHINGTON -- As a reflection of the vast U.S. Army representation at the 2016 Olympic Summer Games, President Barack Obama named Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning to the U.S. Presidential Delegation to attend the closing ceremony in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, earlier today. The Army has 14 Olympians along with three coaches as a part of Team USA at the 2016 Olympics and Paralympics. The Army Olympians represent multiple Army components and units, to include the U.S. Army Reserve, the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
In addition to the closing ceremony, Fanning will attend competitions Army Olympians are participating in and meet with other Soldier-athletes who have completed competition.
The American tradition of Soldier-athletes participating in the Olympics began with then Second Lieutenant George S. Patton in 1912. Army athletes have earned 104 Olympic medals in a wide variety of events, all while maintaining a professional military career.
The U.S. delegation will be headed by Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and includes Liliana Ayalde, U.S. ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil; Bess Evans, associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; Lauren Kelly, deputy associate director of the White House Social Office; Jason Collins, retired NBA Player & Member of the President's Council on fitness, sports, and nutrition; and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, three-time Olympic gold medalist and founder of the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation.
The closing ceremony of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games will take place Sunday evening, Aug. 21, in the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As mandated by the Olympic Charter, the formal ceremonial closing of this international sporting event includes the closing speeches, the lowering of the flags, and the extinguishing of the flame.
You can follow Fanning as he represents the United States, President Obama, and the Army in the delegation for Rio on social media:
Facebook: Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning
Snapchat: Follow SecArmy
The 2016 U.S. Army Olympians are also Soldier-athletes and represent the Army's best. They're resilient. They're ready. They're Army Strong. They represent the best of our Army and our country on the world stage. And because they're Soldiers first, it's no surprise they also demonstrate the competitive spirit, physical skill and mental toughness that make America's Army great.