U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Soldier wins USA Shooting Athlete of Year
U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit & USA Shooting
FORT BENNING, Ga. – A Soldier of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit has been chosen as the 2008 USA Shooting Athlete of the Year.
USA Shooting selected 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist Sgt.
Walton Glenn Eller III as the 2008 USAS Male Shooter of the Year. Four-time Olympic medalist and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Kim Rhode of El Monte, Calif., was chosen as the USAS Female Shooter of the Year.
USA Shooting, the national governing body for Olympic shooting sports, made the announcement Nov. 13 at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. These athletes were chosen based on the USAS Athlete of the Year Policies and Procedures and were selected by a points system.
Three-time Olympian Eller claimed the first Olympic medal of his career when he captured the Gold Medal in Double Trap in Beijing, China, in August; he was an Army specialist at the time and was recently promoted to sergeant. He also won the Silver Medal at the Beijing World Cup in April, which served as the test event for the Olympic Games, and placed fourth at both the World Cup USA in Kerrville, Texas, and the World Cup in Suhl, Germany.
Nationally, Eller finished in first place overall in Double Trap at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Shotgun and also claimed the top spots at the Shotgun National Championships and Shotgun Fall Selection Match, landing himself a spot on the 2009 U.S. World Shotgun Championship Team. Raised in Katy, Texas, Eller graduated from James E. Taylor High School in 2000. He continued his education at the University of Houston in Texas and Auburn University in Alabama.
Eller, who began shooting in 1990, enlisted in the Army in September of 2006. After he completed Basic and Infantry Training, he was assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Shotgun Team in January 2007. The Soldier is single and lives at Fort Benning.
Rhode, who was also the 2007 USAS Female Athlete of the year, captured her fourth career Olympic medal in Beijing when she brought home the Silver in Women's Skeet. She won the Silver Medal at World Cup USA and finished in fourth place at World Cup Suhl and at the World Cup Final in Minsk, Belarus. Rhode won the Women's Skeet event at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and was also the 2008 National Champion. She finished in second place at the Shotgun Fall Selection Match, claiming a spot on the 2009 U.S. World Shotgun Championship Team.
Eller and Rhode were selected as the overall USAS Athletes of the Year, but USAS also recognized the Athletes of the Year in each shooting discipline who earned the highest number of points in their discipline.
Last year's Male Athlete of the Year and 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Emmons of Browns Mills, N.J., won the Male Rifle Shooter of the Year and 2008 Olympian Jamie Beyerle of Lebanon, Pa., won the honor for women's rifle. 2008 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Turner of Rochester, N.Y., won Male Pistol Shooter of the Year.
Two-time Olympian Emmons, who is the 2004 Olympic gold medalist in Men's Prone Rifle, grabbed the Silver in prone at the 2008 Olympic Games and finished in fourth place in Men's Three Position Rifle. He won a Silver Medal in Men's Air Rifle at the 2008 Beijing World Cup and claimed a Bronze in Prone at World Cup Milan. Emmons captured a GoldMedal in Three Position as well as Silver Medals in both Air and Prone at the World Cup Final in Bangkok, Thailand, which is the first time a U.S. shooter has earned three medals at a World Cup Final. Emmons also earned the national title in all three events at the 2008 USA Shooting National Championships. Beyerle finished fourth at the 2008 Olympic Games in Women's Air Rifle and fifth in Women's Three Position Rifle. She was the World Cup Milan Silver Medalist in Three Position and finished fifth at the World Cup Final. Beyerle won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore and was also the 2008 National Champion in Women's Three Position. She finished second at Nationals in Air Rifle. Two-time Olympian Turner, who competed in both Men's Free Pistol and Air Pistol at the 2008 Olympic Games, captured a Bronze in Air Pistol, which was the first Olympic medal of his career. Turner took first place in both Air and Free Pistol at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team Trials and was the National Champion in Air Pistol. He took third place in Free Pistol at the 2008 Nationals. Turner most recently finished seventh in Air Pistol at the World Cup Final.
The overall athletes of the year will be submitted to the U.S. Olympic Committee for consideration for the 2008 USOC Sportsman and Sportswomen of the Year awards, which have been presented annually since1974 to the top over all male and female athletes within the U.S. OlympicFamily.
Formed in 1956 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower to raise the standards of marksmanship throughout the U.S. Army, the Army Marksmanship Unit is assigned to the Accessions Support Brigade of the U.S. Army Accessions Command. The Marksmanship Unit trains its Soldiers to win competitions and enhances combat readiness through train-the-trainer clinics, research and development. For more information on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, contact the Public Affairs Office at (706) 545-5436, Paula.Randall@usaac.army.mil or www.USAMU.com. USA Shooting is recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Shooting Sport Federation as the national governing body for the Olympic and international shooting sports in the United States. For more information on USA Shooting, contact Public Relations Manager Mary Beth Vorwerk at (719) 866-4896, MaryBeth.Vorwerk@USAShooting.org or www.USAShooting.com
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