Military Athletes at Tokyo Olympics

Updated: August 9, 2021
In this Article

    Here are the 19 military athletes plus three coaches that represented Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan which were held from July 23 to Aug. 8, 2021. There was one medal winner from this list, Army 1st Lt. Amber English who took home a gold medal in the women’s skeet. Amber is a logistics officer and member of the Army Marksmanship Unit.

    Military Athletes Who Represented the  U.S. at Tokyo Olympics

    Military Athletes at Tokyo Olympics Seventeen soldiers, one Marine and one Coast Guardsman have earned spots in the delayed 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

    Army Olympics

    1st Lt. Amber English – Women’s skeet

    Staff Sgt. Naomi Graham – Women’s boxing, 75 kilogram category

    Staff Sgt. Nickolaus Mowrer – 10m air pistol, men; 10m air pistol, mixed team; and 50m rifle, 3 positions

    Staff Sgt. Sandra Uptagrafft – 10m air pistol, women; 10m air pistol, mixed team; and 25m sport pistol

    Sgt. Samantha Schultz – Modern pentathlon

    Sgt. Amro Elgeziry – Modern pentathlon

    Sgt. Ildar Hafizov – Greco-Roman wrestling, 60 kg category

    Spc. Alejandro Sancho – Greco-Roman wrestling, 67 kg category

    Spc. Benard Keter – 3,000-meter steeplechase, track and field

    Sgt. Patrick Sunderman – Men’s smallbore rifle

    Spc. Sagen Maddalena – Women’s smallbore rifle

    Spc. Alison Weisz – Women’s air rifle

    Sgt. Philip Jungman – Men’s skeet

    1st Lt. Sam Kendricks – Pole vaulting

    Three soldiers were also named Team USA coaches. Staff Sgt. Spencer Mango, Sgt. 1st Class Dennis Bowsher, and Sgt. Terrence Jennings will be coaching wrestling, modern pentathlon, and taekwondo, respectively.

    Army Paralympics

    Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Marks – Paralympic swimming in 50-meter freestyle, 50-meter butterfly, 200-meter individual medley and 100-meter backstroke

    Staff Sgt. John Joss – Paralympic shooting, 50m rifle

    Staff Sgt. Kevin Nguyen – Paralympic shooting, 50m rifle

    Marine Corps Olympics

    Staff Sgt. John Stefanowicz – Greco-Roman wrestling, 87 kg category

    Coast Guard Olympics

    Lt. Nikole Barnes – 470-class sailboat category

    All Team USA Athletes From 46 States

    Team USA is sending 613 athletes from 46 states to this summer’s 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The 2020 roster includes 329 women and 284 men, marking the third straight Olympic Games with more women on the U.S. roster. Swimmer Katie Grimes is the youngest athlete at age 15, while equestrian Phillip Dutton will be competing at age 57. California’s 126 athletes make up 20.5% of the U.S. team. Next are Florida (51), Colorado (34), Texas (31) and New York (27). On a per capita basis, Colorado (5.9 athletes per million population), Hawaii (5.7), and the District of Columbia (5.6) beat out all other states, including California (3.2).

    Notable Former U.S. Service Members in the Olympics

    • Vincent Hancock became the first Olympian to repeat gold in skeet shooting — winning the event in 2008 and 2012. Hancock served in the US Army, rising to the rank of Sergeant.
    • Steven Holcomb won the 4-man bobsled event for the US for the first time since 1948. Holcomb served as a combat engineer for seven years in the Utah Army National Guard.
    • Glenn Eller was a staff sergeant stationed at Fort Benning Georgia. He won gold in the men’s double trap at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
    • Naval Academy graduate David Robinson, nicknamed The Admiral, served two years at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay before embarking on a career that saw him play in three Olympic Games and win two gold medals.
    • Lones Wigger went into the U.S. Army after college and served two tours in Vietnam teaching marksmanship. He participated in three Olympic Games winning two gold medals and one silver.
    • Leon Spinks dropped out of high school to join the Marine Corps and went on to snag the gold medal for boxing at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal.
    • Runner Willie Davenport was in the U.S Army when he qualified for his first Olympic Games at Tokyo 1964. Davenport competed in three more Olympic Games, winning a gold and a bronze, and later participated in the Lake Placid 1980 Olympic Winter Games as a bobsledder.
    • Bill Bradley won the gold as a member of the 1964 US Olympic basketball team. Before joining the New York Knicks in 1967, Bradley served in the Air Force Reserves for six months
    • Runner Mal Whitfield served in World War II as a member of the Air Force’s famed Tuskegee Airmen and later served in the Korean War; he participated in two Olympic Games and won five medals, three gold.
    • Diver Sammy Lee joined the U.S. Army Reserves and served in the Korean War; he won two gold medals and one bronze in two Olympic Games.
    • Weightlifter John Davis served four years in the U.S. Army during World War II, stationed in the South Pacific; he won gold at the London 1948 Olympic Games and the Helsinki 1952 Olympic Games.
    • Sprinter Harrison Dillard served three years in the U.S. Army during World War II as a member of the all-Black 92nd Infantry Division, better known as the Buffalo Soldiers. He won four gold medals over two Olympic Games and is the only man ever to win Olympic gold in the 100-meter dash and 110-meter hurdles.
    • Runner Louis Zamperini competed in the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games and later served in the U.S. Air Force during World War II. His story of surviving a plane crash into the Pacific Ocean, adrift for 47 days at sea before being captured by Japanese forces, was written in the book Unbroken.
    • John Woodruff won a gold medal in the 800-meter run at the Berlin 1936 Olympic Games and later served in World War II and the Korean War.
    • Tommy Hitchcock played polo for the U.S. at the 1924 Summer Olympics, earning a silver medal. He was killed in a 1944 Army plane crash in England.
    • A U.S. Army artillery lieutenant during World War I, Eddie Eagan won gold medals in boxing and bobsledding, becoming the only person to win Olympic gold in the Winter Games and Summer Games in different events.
    • Rower Jack Kelly Sr. served three years in the U.S. Army during World War I and later won three gold medals over two Olympic Games.
    • In between serving in the U.S. Army during World War I and the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, sprinter Charley Paddock competed in two Olympic Games, winning two gold medals and two silver medals. Paddock died in a military plane crash during World War II. Today, Paddock is remembered as the loud, bold American in “Chariots of Fire.”

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