Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Aiming at the Olympics

Magazine article Soldiers Magazine

Aiming at the Olympics

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATIONS OMITTED]

WITH the end of the 2007 Pan-American Games, many in the sports world turn their attention to the Summer Olympic Games, to be held in Beijing, China, in August.

Eight Soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit returned from the Athens Olympics in 2004 with memories, memorabilia and a medal. Between then and the recent Pan-Am Games, USAMU shooters, and thousands of other U.S. athletes in 29 Olympic sports, won Olympic Quota Slots to compete as representatives of the United States in the Beijing Olympics.

Since 1988 each national shooting federation has had to earn its slots. Athletes can obtain only one slot for their country in any event in the Olympics. It guarantees that someone from that country--not necessarily the athlete who earned the slot--can compete in the particular Olympic event. Each nation can earn a maximum of 28 slots in shooting.

The total number of athletes worldwide who may compete in the sport of shooting is 390. Competitors include a maximum of 243 men and 139 women in 15 events.

Thirty-two USAMU Soldiers are international shooters and are vying for a spot on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Shooting Team. They include 14 rifle shooters, 13 shotgunners and five pistol shooters.

Sgt. 1st Class Jason A. Parker and Sgt. 1st Class Daryl L. Szarenski both competed in their second Olympics in 2004.

"The Olympic competition gave me the confidence to shoot for good scores anywhere in the world," Parker said. …

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