TOKYO — As the final Soldiers to compete at the 2020 Summer Games, Sgt. Samantha Schultz made her Olympic debut and Sgt. Amro Elgeziry broke the 200-meter swimming record, both in modern pentathlon.
Elgeziry and Schultz are Soldier-athletes in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. The Olympians — who made up the entire USA modern pentathlon team — competed on August 6 and 7, respectively.
The modern pentathlon is a five sport event consisting of fencing, a 200-meter swim, an equestrian ride, and a laser-run — a combined event that consists of four circuits of shooting five targets followed by an 800 meter run. Competitors earn points in each event which count toward their overall total score.
Elgeziry set an Olympic record when he swam with a time of 1:52.96. He went on to finish 25th overall. Schultz placed first in her swimming heat with a time of 2:15.78 and earned 21st for the entire five-event completion.
“I went to basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where I was doing ruck marches with 60 pounds on my pack in full uniform,” said Schultz. “The heat and humidity in Tokyo brought me back to those moments and I dug deeper into the reason why I compete. I have all of the Army rooting for me.”
After the swimming event, Elgeziry and Schultz competed in the fencing bonus round and then equestrian riding where they earned 290 and 289 points, respectively.
“I am really happy with the way I finished,” said Schultz, a six-time national champion. “I made it through the ride with such a challenging horse. I kept that determination and grit to get it done knowing I didn’t leave behind anything.”
The horses for the equestrian event gave many riders problems. The animals, which are assigned to the competitors at random, refused to make jumps and even threw multiple riders off. Schultz mentioned that the jumps were a lot bigger than they normally see.
The two Soldier-athletes closed out the competition with a laser-shooting run where Schultz crossed the finish line at 12:25.56 and Elgeziry finished with a time of 12:35.32.
“I finished the combined event and just looked around the stadium thinking, ‘I just competed at the Olympics,’ it was so surreal,” said Schultz. “It breaks my heart that my family couldn’t be there but I am proud to know all of my hard work paid off.”
Sgt.1st Class Dennis Bowsher is a WCAP coach and was named one of the Team USA Modern Pentathlon coaches for the Summer Games.
“It is a special feeling knowing you are there not only representing Team USA but everyone that puts on the [Army] uniform,” said Bowsher, also an Olympian and former WCAP athlete. “It was pretty cool that the entire modern pentathlon team was with the U.S. Army.”
Schultz and Elgeziry were among nine Soldier-athletes who competed at the Summer Games. Three more Soldiers are headed to compete in the Paralympic Games kicking off August 24
- Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Marks, swimming
- Staff Sgt. Kevin Nguyen, shooting
- Staff Sgt. John Wayne Joss, shooting
To learn more about Army's World Class Athlete Program, visit the official website.