Tag Archives: race walk

NCO ranked in top 10 heading into final day of modern pentathlon

By PABLO VILLA
NCO Journal

No American has ever won the modern pentathlon since its inception at the Olympic Games in 1912. An NCO is in a decent position to be the first.

Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher heads into the final day of the competition Saturday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in ninth place overall. Schrimsher, a motor transport operator and member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado, is America’s lone competitor in the modern pentathlon. The 24-year-old is being coached at the Olympics by fellow WCAP member and 2012 Olympian, Staff Sgt. Dennis Bowsher.

The modern pentathlon is rooted in military endeavors, Schrimsher told the Albuquerque Tribune last month. The competition — which consists of fencing, swimming, jumping, running and shooting — is comprised of events that a 19th century cavalry Soldier would have to be proficient in.

“He had to have the ability to ride a horse he had never met before, to be able to cross land or water by running or swimming, and then be able to defend himself with a sword and gun to deliver the message across enemy lines to the commander,” Schrimsher said.

Schrimsher showed his savvy with the épée sword during the first day of competition Thursday. He scored 20 wins, good for 220 points and a No. 9 ranking. The competition concludes Saturday with the swimming, jumping and run-shoot events.

No matter the outcome, Schrimsher said he is grateful to represent his country both on sports’ biggest stage and as a Soldier.

“The Army has supported me for three years,” he said. “Without that support it would be extremely hard on me. But it’s an honor to be able to represent not only my country through athletic perspective, but to represent the Army is awesome.”

NCO leads 2 boxers into gold-medal bouts

Team USA boxing will have two shots at a gold medal.

Claressa Shields punched her ticket to the women’s middleweight gold-medal match after beating Kazakhstan’s Dariga Shakimova by unanimous decision Friday in their semifinal match. Shields joins Shakur Stevenson (men’s bantamweight) as the two U.S. boxers remaining in the hunt for the country’s first gold medal since Andre Ward claimed the hardware in the light heavyweight division of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

When the pair returns to the ring for action Friday and Sunday, they will have an NCO in their corner.

Sgt. 1st Class Joe Guzman is part of the coaching staff led by Billy Walsh. For Guzman, who is an assistant boxing coach for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado, the Olympics are familiar territory. He was part of the staff for Team USA Boxing at the 2012 London Olympics as a trainer. This time around, he is a full-fledged assistant, part of a staff that includes Augie Sanchez in addition to Walsh.

Shields will fight Nouchka Fontijn of the Netherlands on Sunday. Stevenson faces Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana on Saturday.

Nunn competes in 50k race walk

Staff Sgt. John Nunn finished 42nd out of 80 competitors in the 50-kilometer race walking competition Friday.

Despite missing out on a medal, finishing the race was momentous enough for the dental hygiene specialist. Nunn, a WCAP member, was in danger of missing out on his third Olympic berth earlier this year before mustering the fortitude that has made him a standout Soldier.

Nunn was stricken by the flu during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials, which took place February in Santee, California. In order to qualify, Nunn was told he would have to finish the race in order to punch his ticket to Rio despite having previously attained the “A” standard time required for the team at a race two months earlier.

So with a body temperature topping 100 degrees, chills, aches and swollen eyes, Nunn took to the track and ended up winning with a personal best time.

Nunn finished the race Friday with a time of 4:16:12.

Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher fences during modern pentathlon competition at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, in this July 2015 photo. Schrimsher is ranked ninth overall heading into the final day of competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Tim Hipps / Army News Service)
Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher fences during modern pentathlon competition at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada, in this July 2015 photo. Schrimsher is ranked ninth overall heading into the final day of competition at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Tim Hipps / Army News Service)

Army athletes continue quest for gold at Rio Olympics

By PABLO VILLA
NCO Journal

The gold-medal chase is still on for several Soldier-athletes taking part in the 2016 Olympic Games as the competition enters its final week in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Sgt. Hillary Bor continued to impress in his unlikely trek to the Games by winning his semifinal heat Monday in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 8:25.01. Bor’s time ranks sixth overall among competitors. He will run in the 3,000-meter steeplechase final Wednesday morning.

For Bor, who wasn’t mentioned in most media projections of pre-Olympic Trials favorites to earn berths on Team USA, the chance to race for a medal is an unprecedented opportunity. While he was an accomplished NCAA steeplechaser, having been named an All-American four times while attending Iowa State University, Bor had stopped running competitively for nearly two years before he enlisted in 2013.

“I was not running when I joined the military,” Bor told the Army news service last month after his runner-up finish at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. “Then I started running for fun just to represent the Army at the Army Ten-Miler and in cross country.”

That fun developed into a competitive streak, one that Bor used to help his All-Army team win this year’s Armed Forces Cross Country Championship at Bend, Oregon. Bor followed that up with his Olympic berth. Now he has a chance to claim one of sports’ biggest prizes, something he said he wouldn’t have been able to achieve without the resilience he has honed while part of the Army. He is also grateful for the opportunity to compete at all given that his unit – the 230th Financial Management Support Unit, 4th Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade – at Fort Carson, Colorado, is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

“I was actually scheduled to deploy with my unit, but my (Army) brothers deployed instead of me,” Bor said. “That changed my mindset, that I needed to work out, because you don’t take anything for granted. I started training hard, and I realized that I had a chance.”

That chance arrives Wednesday.

Boxing team

Three U.S. boxers remain in the hunt for the country’s first gold medal since Andre Ward claimed the hardware in the light heavyweight division of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece.

When Shakur Stevenson (bantamweight), Gary Russell (light welterweight) and Claressa Shields (women’s middleweight) return to the ring for action today and Wednesday, they will have an NCO in their corner.

Sgt. 1st Class Joe Guzman is part of the coaching staff led by Billy Walsh. For Guzman, who is an assistant boxing coach for the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson, Colorado, the Olympics are familiar territory. He was part of the staff for Team USA Boxing at the 2012 London Olympics as a trainer. This time around, he is a full-fledged assistant, part of a staff that includes Augie Sanchez in addition to Walsh.

Guzman has been a WCAP coach since 2008. Before his foray into coaching, he was an accomplished boxer in his own right. Guzman was a three-time All Armed Forces champion and won a silver medal at the 2007 World Military Championships. He qualified for the Olympic Trials in 2008, but his career was cut short by a knee injury.

Other news

Three other Soldiers, including two NCOs, from the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program compete later this week.

Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher begins action in the modern pentathlon Thursday. Schrimsher is coached by fellow Soldier, Staff Sgt. Dennis Bowsher. Staff Sgt. John Nunn competes in the 50-kilometer race walk Friday. Spc. Paul Chelimo will run Wednesday in the 5,000-meter race.

Six other athletes from WCAP and the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit have already finished competition at the Rio Olympics. They include:

  • Sgt. 1st Class Josh Richmond finished 7th overall in the men’s double trap competition Aug. 10.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Glenn Eller finished 14th overall in the men’s double trap competition Aug. 10
  • Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson finished 10th overall in the men’s 25-meter rapid fire pistol competition Saturday.
  • Sgt. 1st Class Michael McPhail finished 19th overall in the men’s 50-meter rifle prone competition Friday.
  • Spc. Leonard Korir finished 14th overall and Spc. Shadrack Kipchirchir finished 19th overall in the men’s 10,000-meter race
  • Sgt. Hillary Bor runs the 3,000-meter steeplechase July 8 at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Bor finished second to earn a spot in the Rio Olympics. He has reached the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which will be run Wednesday (Tim Hipps / Army News Service)
    Sgt. Hillary Bor runs the 3,000-meter steeplechase July 8 at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Oregon. Bor finished second to earn a spot in the Rio Olympics. He has reached the finals of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, which will be run Wednesday (Tim Hipps / Army News Service)

NCO floored by flu rises to become three-time Olympian

By TIM HIPPS
U.S. Army Installation Management Command

Staff Sgt. John Nunn lay in a crumpled heap on his hotel room floor the night of Feb. 20 in Santee, California. Nunn was severely stricken with the flu and wondering whether he’d be well enough to take part in the 50-kilometer race walk competition of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials the following day. A trip to his third Olympics was in peril as a body temperature over 100 degrees, chills, aches and burning eyes left him in the fetal position.

“I remember lying in bed, tears were coming down,” he said, “and I was thinking, ‘I have worked so hard for this. I have devoted so much time and effort, and the Army has backed me. This can’t end this way.'”

It didn’t. Nunn overcame his illness to win the Team Trials and earn his third Olympic berth with a personal-best time of 4 hours, 3 minutes and 21 seconds.

Having attained the 4:06:00 Olympic “A” standard when he won the 2015 U.S. 50K Race Walk National Championship with a 4:03:42 clocking in November, Nunn called USA Track and Field officials the night before the competition to see if he could start the race, drop out and still be named to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team.

“They said ‘You have to finish. This is not a question,'” Nunn recalled. “We’re sorry you feel this way, but you have to finish.'”

Nunn was on the starting line Feb. 21 for a 7:15 a.m. start to a 31-mile race in which one foot always must be in contact with the ground.

Staff Sgt. John Nunn, a U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program race walker, receives an American flag from his daughter, Ella, after winning the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the 50-kilometer race walk Feb. 21, in Santee, California. Nunn, 38, won the event with a personal-best time of 4 hours, 3 minutes, 21 seconds on the 31-mile course to earn his third Olympic berth. (Photo courtesy of Army News Service)
Staff Sgt. John Nunn, a U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program race walker, receives an American flag from his daughter, Ella, after winning the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for the 50-kilometer race walk Feb. 21, in Santee, California. Nunn, 38, won the event with a personal-best time of 4 hours, 3 minutes, 21 seconds on the 31-mile course to earn his third Olympic berth. (Photo courtesy of Army News Service)

Nunn is a Soldier in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, a detachment of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation division based in Fort Carson, Colorado. The program allows Soldiers an opportunity to train full-time in an Olympic sport, and participate in the Pan American Games, World Championships, Olympic and Paralympic games while maintaining a professional military career and promoting the U.S. Army to the world.

“It definitely was a race where knowing that I had the support of the Army was a huge factor that helped pull me through,” Nunn said. “I was like, ‘You know what? I know I’m sick, but we’re going to go take care of this now.'”

Before the race began, Nunn explained to civilian training partner Nick Christie that he had the flu and would attempt to walk with him for 30 kilometers to help Christie obtain the Olympic qualifying standard, but then he likely would slow down and simply try to finish.

As it turned out, the race went exactly opposite.

Nunn, 38, and Christie, 24, walked side-by-side for the first 28 of 40 laps around the 1.25-kilometer circuit. They were both on pace to hit the Olympic standard. On Lap 29, Christie surged about five meters ahead of Nunn, but not for long. When Nunn retook the lead one lap later, Christie dropped off the pace and finished a distant second in 4:22:31 — 16 minutes off the standard.

“The first 25K was so hard,” Nunn said. “Everybody was saying that I looked so relaxed, but my stomach was hurting so bad.”

By the 30K mark, Nunn said his body “went numb.”

At that point, he and Christie had lapped the field three times, so he told himself “If you end up passing out, stop to throw up, or your body crashes, you can still pull second,” Nunn recalled.

Christie, on the other hand, had nothing left.

“Everything looked good, and all of a sudden it’s what happens in 50K and marathon: the body just gave out and I crashed badly,” Christie said.

Nunn sensed finishing the 50K was within his reach, and decided no flu or stomach bug was going to stop him.

“I started pushing it,” Nunn recalled. “And when Nick fell off of me, I felt really bad for him. I was hoping he would stay with me for another 10K or so and then let adrenaline take over for the last five laps and get the standard, but he fell off and I ended up lapping him.”

Nunn lapped Christie a second time during the final 15 kilometers. By then, with victory and a third Olympic berth virtually in hand, the Soldier-athlete needed another source of inspiration.

It came from U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program Chief Willie Wilson, a retired command sergeant major who has supported Nunn throughout most of his Army career, cheering Nunn on from the sidelines.

“I heard him say something to the effect of ‘the unit’s behind you and the Army’s proud of you,'” recalled Nunn, whose gait grew stronger as the race grew shorter. “He said Soldiers would be excited to know what was about to happen.”

“It put things very much in perspective,” Nunn said. “This is so much bigger than just me. I’m not out here racing for some [small-time] sponsor that I convinced them to let me do it. This is the United States Army and they believe in me enough that they’ve invested time and money and emotion and other people into this.”

Wilson saw the day before the race that Nunn “was really struggling with stomach problems and temperature — very flu-like symptoms.”

“But he showed up [Feb. 21], still not feeling the best, but determined to give it his all by representing the Army, IMCOM and the World Class Athlete Program as a professional Soldier,” Wilson said. “He had a phenomenal performance. He persevered and worked through struggling with cramps and pain. What an example of resiliency.”

Wilson sensed that Nunn knew he was walking for something larger than himself.

“I think he took his situation and refocused off of the pain and problems that he was having and started focusing on, one, wanting to represent the Army and the United States at the Olympic Games in Rio, and, two, he realized that he was out there for something a little bigger than just Sergeant Nunn.”

In the end, Nunn walked his fastest time ever.

“I remember rounding the back turn on the last lap,” Nunn recalled. “I looked down at my watch and I was walking faster than what I had been going, and I was like ‘Man, you can get a personal best — just go get it.’

“Yeah, I freaked out Saturday,” Nunn said. “But when the race started, it was ‘Okay, it’s time for business. I don’t care how you feel or what’s going on, you have to do everything that you can to make sure this goes right.'”