Defense Olympics Update Nr. 5: Profiles of the Military Olympians
I hope some of our readers had the chance to watch the “Today” show this morning where military race walk Olympian John Nunn and his Olympian team mate Maria Michta showed the “Today” show hosts the “fundamentals” of race walking.
It was fun to watch the hosts attempt to “walk the race walk” but it was somewhat disappointing that the military background of Army Staff Sgt. John Nunn was not discussed. I do not believe that they even mentioned that Nunn is a military Olympian.
Moving on, thus far we have highlighted four of the 16 military Olympians: Marine Corps Sgt. Jamel Herring, Army Sgt. 1st Class Daryl Szarenski, Navy Reservist Sandra Uptagrafft and Army Staff Sgt. John Nunn.
As it may be difficult — in the very short time during which the Summer Olympics take place and in view of the fast pace at which the many events occur — to give each athlete and the events they participate in the coverage they deserve, this and the next two updates will provide a short profile of the remaining military Olympians.
Be sure to check back on the previous postings, as some will contain updates to the events our military participate in.
All profiles and photos are courtesy of the Department of Defense’s American Forces Press Service
Kelsey, one of the United States’ all-time most accomplished epee fencers, was a member of the first U.S. Men’s Epee Team ever to earn a medal at the world championships in Paris in 2010. A graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, he continued to compete in fencing while at the academy, where he received an athletic achievement award and attained most valuable player status three times as a fencer. Kelsey was active duty in the Air Force for several years before transitioning to the Air Force Reserve. Now 30, he recently transitioned back to the Air Force Active Reserve. His hobbies include reading, cooking and sailing. He regularly trains with the modern pentathletes, whose disciplines include fencing, in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft USA Shooting, Men’s 50m Rifle Prone
Uptagrafft began his decorated shooting career when he was just 11 years old. In 1993, Eric made the National Development Team and just two years later, he made the national team. In 1995, he graduated from West Virginia University, with an aerospace engineering degree. Uptagrafft, and his wife, Sandra, who also is a competitive shooter, run Uptagrafft LLC, which created a new .22 competition rim fire rifle action while also producing riser blocks, bloop tubes and tuner bloop tubes. He participated at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson USA Shooting, Men’s 25m Rapid Fire Pistol
Sanderson, 37, is a rapid-fire pistol shooter in the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program. He is a two-time U.S. Olympic team member and has been on numerous U.S. world teams. He started his military career serving as a Marine for eight years before switching to the Army Reserve. His initial goal was to teach marksmanship while training for the 2008 Olympic Trials but has accomplished so much more by proving he is one of the most elite shooters that the nation has to offer.