Meet Ivan Roe - U.S. Army Soldier & 2024 Olympian

By Michelle LunatoJanuary 17, 2024

U.S. Army Sgt. Ivan Roe competes in the USA Shooting Air Gun Olympic Trials Part 3 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Judith Legerski Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, Jan. 5-7, 2024.

Roe earned a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team in the Men's 10m Air Rifle event. This Bozeman, Montana native is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Team stationed out of Fort Moore, Georgia.
U.S. Army Sgt. Ivan Roe competes in the USA Shooting Air Gun Olympic Trials Part 3 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Judith Legerski Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, Jan. 5-7, 2024.

Roe earned a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team in the Men's 10m Air Rifle event. This Bozeman, Montana native is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Team stationed out of Fort Moore, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Michelle Lunato)
VIEW ORIGINAL

At seven years old, his father signed him up for a gun safety and hunter’s education class, and now, he’ll be aiming for Gold at the 2024 Olympic Games.

Ivan Roe earned an Olympic Berth in the Men’s 10m air rifle event after completing USA Shooting’s three-part Rifle Olympic Trials against 77 other top marksmen from across the United States.

After realizing he won a spot on Team USA, a goal he had been working on for several years, the Manhattan, Montana native said he was still in awe. “I have no idea what to feel right now. It’s just excitement and relief all bundled up.”

Roe’s father, Ed Roe, had a mix of emotions as well after the announcement that his son would represent the Nation at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris. “I’m nervous, and very happy, very happy.”

Looking back to all the classes and matches he took his son too over the years, Ed says he never imagined it leading to the Olympics. It was just something his son enjoyed doing, so like any parent, he helped him navigate through the shooting clubs and matches, which he encourages parents of junior marksmen to do. “Stick with it. Help your child. Help them get where they want to go to. And, expect a lot of traveling. We are from Montana so everything is a long way’s from where we are at.”

All that traveling paid off as Roe went on to shoot for Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky from 2014 to 2018. As a college athlete, Roe built upon his junior marksmanship foundation and distinguished himself by earning three international medals and seven National Collegiate Athletic Association All-American titles.

By the time he had earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Aquatic Biology/Fisheries and a minor in Environmental Engineering, Roe said he wasn’t done with the sport of shooting. He still wanted to compete and dreamt of becoming an Olympian.

So Roe did something he never thought of doing in all those years in the sport — he joined the U.S. Army. “The Army said, ‘Hey we can provide you with everything you need to be a successful shooter.’ So to me, it seemed like a no brainer,” explained Roe.

With his successful college shooting career, Roe received a direct appointment to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit after completing Infantry One Station Unit Training at the then-called Fort Benning, Georgia in July 2019 (which is now called Fort Moore).

As competitive shooter for the USAMU’s International Rifle Team, Roe’s main mission is marksmanship and therefore, he follows a set schedule. Whereas in college, his training had to come before or after classes. That uninterrupted training time really makes a difference, said Roe, now a U.S. Army Sergeant. “Being in the Army, I train from 7:30 a.m. to noon. That’s my time to train. That’s what I am supposed to be doing. That is my job.”

The competitive environment is different as a Soldier too. In college, it was more of a team-based sport where you don’t want to let your team down. In the Army, it is more of an individual sport, explained Roe. “I am shooting for me. I am shooting to be the best that I possibly can be, and the only person I am really letting down, if I don’t succeed, is myself.”

The individuality of the shooting sports is exactly what Roe said he enjoys, but it also brings on its fair share of frustrations and bad days, but the Fort Moore Soldier reminds junior marksmen that’s a normal part of all sports. “You just have to get through them because the peaks are — the next one is higher than the first. It’s a huge dopamine boost when you hit a new high.”

Going from a junior shooter to a collegiate athlete to an Army marksman was no easy journey for Roe. Of course, earning a spot on Team USA was the hardest part of the journey thus far, said Roe, but difficulty should not sway someone away from their dreams though. “You are going to have to make some decisions, and you are going to have sacrifice a lot of things, but if it’s really a goal you want to achieve, it’s one hundred percent worth it.”

Making the Olympic Team is not easy, but it is possible if you are willing to work hard, explained Roe. “It is very doable. It takes a lot of work, but you can get there. I did not think when I was nine years old that I would be an Olympian—I wanted to be one—but I didn’t think I was going to.”

Hard work and training paid off and Roe will make his Olympic debut in Paris on July 27, the day after Opening Ceremonies since the Mixed Team 10m Air Rifle event is one of the 14 sporting events on the first day of the Games. Then, the very next day are the individual Men’s and Women’s 10m Air Rifle qualification relays, which are repeated again the next day with the top competitors moving onto the Gold Medal matches.

With July just around the corner, it’s natural to assume this Soldier-Olympian would be focused on nothing but 10m air rifle. However, Roe has yet to complete USA Shooting’s Smallbore Rifle Olympic Trials-Part 3, which will be March 17-19 at Fort Moore, Georgia.

That means Roe will have to split up training between the two shooting disciplines: 10m air rifle and 50m smallbore/three-position rifle. Ironically, the 2024 10m Air Rifle Olympian, said he already has a discipline he prefers more, and that’s 50m Smallbore. “It’s a lot more technical, and you have multiple positions. I like the puzzle piece aspect of smallbore, where air rifle is a strict, stick to the process,” laughed Roe.

If it turns out this U.S. Army Soldier qualifies in 50m Smallbore after the March trials, he would then compete in two events at his first Olympics, and that would just be a bonus, said Roe.

U.S. Army Sgt. Ivan Roe competed in the USA Shooting Air Gun Olympic Trials Part 3 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Judith Legerski Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, Jan. 5-7, 2024.

Roe earned a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team in the Men's 10m Air Rifle event. This Bozeman, Montana native is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Team stationed out of Fort Moore, Georgia.
U.S. Army Sgt. Ivan Roe competed in the USA Shooting Air Gun Olympic Trials Part 3 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Judith Legerski Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, Jan. 5-7, 2024.

Roe earned a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team in the Men's 10m Air Rifle event. This Bozeman, Montana native is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Team stationed out of Fort Moore, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Michelle Lunato)
VIEW ORIGINAL
U.S. Army Sgt. Ivan Roe competes in the USA Shooting Air Gun Olympic Trials Part 3 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Judith Legerski Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, Jan. 5-7, 2024.

Roe earned a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team in the Men's 10m Air Rifle event. This Bozeman, Montana native is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Team stationed out of Fort Moore, Georgia.
U.S. Army Sgt. Ivan Roe competes in the USA Shooting Air Gun Olympic Trials Part 3 at the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Judith Legerski Competition Center in Anniston, Alabama, Jan. 5-7, 2024.

Roe earned a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team in the Men's 10m Air Rifle event. This Bozeman, Montana native is a marksmanship instructor/competitive shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit International Rifle Team stationed out of Fort Moore, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Lt. Col. Michelle Lunato)
VIEW ORIGINAL
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL