Oops! Two More Military Olympians Events
In the excitement to summarize and applaud the achievements of our military Olympians, your (pro-bono) “reporter” neglected to provide the results of the last two military Olympians’ competitions yesterday in London.
With my apologies to my one or two readers, but especially to Army Spc. Dennis Bowsher, the lone U.S. competitor in the men’s modern pentathlon, and to Army Staff Sgt. John Nunn, competing in the 50-kilometer race-walk event, here it goes.
The men’s modern pentathlon seems like a natural for a military man.
It is an event steeped in military history and activities. It was introduced into the Olympics in 1912, exactly one hundred years ago at the Stockholm 1912 Olympic Games. The first U.S. military to participate was none other than Gen. George S. Patton, then a lieutenant at the Stockholm Games. Patton finished fifth behind Native American Jim Thorpe who won both the pentathlon and the decathlon gold medals.
The event includes many of the skills and activities of a traditional soldier: Fencing, swimming for 200 meters, horseback riding and equestrian show jumping and running 3 kilometers “while stopping to shoot a pistol along the way” — all in the same day. This Olympics was the first time in which the shooting and running portions were combined into a single, final event.
Imagine a soldier trapped behind enemy lines. He fights his way out with his sword, swims across a lake, grabs the nearest horse, gallops through the forest and makes a last dash for freedom on foot, occasionally firing a pistol to fend off his adversaries.
That, in essence, is modern pentathlon, the brainchild of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics.
Well, in this modern pentathlon Spc. Dennis Bowsher, 29, of Dallas finished in 32nd place overall. David Svoboda of the Czech Republic won the gold.
“There are a lot of Americans that make the U.S. Olympic team but I’m doing it as a soldier in the Army, so it’s just an extra bonus,” said Bowsher. “Like a little bit more honor for me, just knowing that I have all those people back rooting for me wearing that uniform.”
You may be seeing Bowsher again at the XXI Summer Olympics. “We have Rio in four years, and I look forward to training to that,” said Bowsher.
Finally, Staff Sgt. John Nunn, an Army dental hygienist, competed in the 50-kilometer race-walk event in the Olympics yesterday, an event he has only competed in three times. Nunn posted a personal best of 4 hours, 3 minutes and 28 seconds in the race walk, earning him a 43rd-place finish.
In the shadow of Buckingham Palace, John Nunn (San Diego, Calif.) set a personal best by more than a minute in 4:03:28 to finish 43rd. The men were faced with warm conditions and a cloudless sky, but enjoyed support from the crowd lining the 2 km loop.
Nunn was on pace through the halfway point to walk under four hours (splitting 25k in 1:58:29), but was unable to sustain the effort. As more than a dozen athletes were eliminated from the competition due to penalties or withdrawing from the race, Nunn did not receive a single mark from the judges and walked a clean race. Sergey Kirdyapkin of Russia won in an Olympic Record of 3:39:59, with Jared Tallen of Australia second in 3:36:53, and Tiangeng Si of China third in 3:37:16.
John Nunn said, “There is still a lot of improvement to do, but I was pleased. I went through halfway in 1:58:30, and I was with a good group of guys. It wasn’t too fast for the first half, but I just didn’t have the strength for the second half that I was hoping to. I was just hoping to go a little faster the second half for sure. I just started walking 50k 9 moths ago, so there is still a lot of room for improvement, but this is a good step in the right direction,” according to the Association.
Congratulations Spc. Dennis Bowsher, Staff Sgt. John Nunn and all other Military Olympians, and this one does conclude the coverage by yours truly of our Military Olympians at the London 2012 Summer Games.