Nine Soldier-athletes in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program competed at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, July 23 - August 8, walking away with a gold medal and two Olympic records set.
1st Lt. Amber English, an Army Reserve Soldier in the Army’s Marksmanship Unit, broke the Olympic record for women's skeet shooting with a score of 56/60, earning her first gold medal in her Olympic debut.
“I just feel numb right now, this has been a long time coming,” said English moments after she was awarded her gold medal. “I feel sheer relief.”
Sgt. Amro Elgeziry broke the Olympic record in the 200-meter swim for men’s modern pentathlon with a time of 1:52.96 on August 7.
Elgeziry, joined by Sgt. Samantha Schultz and coach Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Bowsher made up the entire Team USA Modern Pentathlon team. Overall, Schultz finished 21st and Elgeziry 25th. The two Soldier-athletes participated in the Olympics Closing Ceremony on August 8.
“The closing ceremony meant so much more than I expected,” said Schultz. “I watched Rio 2016 from the stands, and I promised myself I would be an athlete at the next games’ ceremony. This is a special memory I will have forever.”
Spc. Benard Keter, who also made his Olympic debut, advanced to the finals in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase where he placed 11th on August 2.
“Qualifying for the finals at my first Olympics felt great, it was the goal,” said Keter. “This is everything I have ever wanted.”
Sgt. Ildar Hafizov, in the 60kg weight class, and Spc. Alejandro Sancho, in the 67kg weight class, competed in Greco-Roman wrestling where they fell to tough first round matches. Both Soldiers wrestled in second repechage match.
Staff Sgt. Nickolaus Mowrer placed 13th in the men’s 10-meter air pistol, July 24, and 26th in men’s 3 position 50-meter rifle, August 2.
“Having an opportunity to not only represent the United States of America but the U.S. Army is what it’s all about,” said Mowrer.
Staff Sgt. Sandra Uptagrafft, an Army Reserves Soldier, came in 49th for women’s 10-meter air pistol, July 25, and in 33rd place for women’s 25-meter air pistol, July 29. The Pan American games medalist participated in the opening ceremony July 23 at Olympic Stadium.
Staff Sgt. Naomi Graham made her first Olympic appearance in boxing, with the 75kg weight class, where she received a bye to advance to the round of 16. She put up a tough fight July 28, but was defeated by the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Champion.
Three additional WCAP Soldiers were in Tokyo as Team USA coaches:
Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Bowsher, modern pentathlon
Staff Sgt. Spenser Mango, boxing
Sgt. Terrence Jennings, taekwondo
Three more Soldier-athletes will represent the Army at the Paralympics, kicking off August 24.
Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Marks is competing in four swimming events, Staff Sgt. Kevin Nguyen is aiming for medals in two shooting events and Staff Sgt. John Wayne Joss III will be shooting as well.