By Dottie WhiteAugust 1, 2018
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- A 1st Space Brigade Soldier won the gold medal in the Modern Pentathlon Masters World Championship July 9-14 in Halle, Germany.
Maj. Michelle Kelly, the 1st Space Brigade S4 in Colorado Springs, competed in the Modern Pentathlon's five categories -- fencing, swimming, horseback show jumping, and a combination event of running and shooting with a laser pistol.
"Taking first place was amazing," said Kelly. "It was very much unexpected but everything just kept going right.
"On the horseback event, I drew a horse that could jump well but was very fast and difficult to control," she explained. "I ended up with a perfect score on it, which was pretty awesome because all of the other riders had some faults. So I had a perfect score on the ride, then swam well, and my fencing was just amazing. I only had five total defeats out of 29 bouts. It was a really, really good fencing day for me. And then I knew I could hold my own in the run-shoot, but, of course, it's not over until it's over. So it was amazing to come across the finish line and break the tape in first place."
In addition to winning gold in the individual event, Kelly won silver in the mixed relay with teammate Stacy Hoehle and silver in the overall team event.
Kelly, who was the only U.S. service member in the competition, said her military training was instrumental in her success in the combined event of running and shooting, since she had less than two-weeks notice that she would be competing.
"I didn't have a laser pistol to train with, so I was given one on Friday before I left on Monday to compete," she explained. "I had just a little time to kind of brush up on shooting with a laser. The fundamentals from being in the military and shooting often helped. In fact, the combined event of running and shooting were my highest scores throughout."
Kelly's short notice on competing was because she was a replacement for an injured competitor who could no longer compete. The coaches asked Kelly to step in as Hoehle's partner, and with the 1st Space Brigade's approval, she did so without hesitation.
"I feel very fortunate to have the brigade and command support me during this competition. I'm very appreciative for that opportunity. And it felt really nice to be able to bring home some medals for 1st Space Brigade and (the command)."
Kelly's next duty station will be in Germany. She said she is looking forward to more competitions as there are a lot of opportunities for training and competing in Europe.
The 1st Space Brigade is part of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.