Meet and watch the real Team USA: military members who are competing in the London 2012 Olympics. Two of these athletes spent the last year serving the USA in Afghanistan! Here are the details and a viewing schedule for you. All times are 24 hour clock EDT. NBCSN is the NBC Sports Network. As always, NBC may choose to change the viewing schedule (don’t blame me).
Let’s begin with my favorite, an alum from USAFA Class of ’03, Air Force Captain Weston (Seth) Kelsey. This is his third olympics in fencing (Men’s Individual Epee). His first match is Wednesday, 8/1, against China, at 0930. Unfortunately, this is not televised. You can watch it streamed live at http://www.nbcolympics.com/. Click on “online listings”.
Another grad, Air Force Captain Eli Bremer , Class of 2000, just missed qualifying for the Olympics in the Modern Pentathlon. He will be in London as an analyst for NBC, providing expert commentary on:
Army Spc Dennis Bowsher. Bowsher, pictured above, is stationed at Ft Carson in the US Army World Class Athlete Program (WPAC). He competes in the Fencing/Swimming events on Sat, 8/11, at 1000 on MSNBC. The Riding/Running/Shooting events begin 8/11 at 1345 and are scheduled to be broadcast LIVE on MSNBC.
Army SSgt Dremiel Byers is a Supply Sergeant/ Recruiter / Member of WCAP at Ft. Carson, competing in the 120 Kg (264.5 lb) Class Men’s Greco-Roman Wrestling. He will compete on Monday, 8/6 at 1115 and 1430 on MSNBC.
The bulk of US military athletes compete in shooting, which is also where the off-range drama and color happens. These athletes have to choose between the WPAC in Colorado Springs, CO, which emphasizes competition, and the Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) in Ft Benning, GA. Some sportsmen criticize the AMU for its renewed emphasis on training. Duh. As a taxpayer, I support the AMU remembering its military mission, training the worldwide marksmanship trainers. I criticize the olympics for making this sport gender specific — really, does gender impact one’s ability to shoot?
SSgt Glen Eller has a reputation as the team’s Bode Miller. He won Gold in 2008, and says that the Army discipline has tempered his partying. He’ll be competing against the 2010 World Champion and teammate SSgt Joshua Richmond in Men’s Double Trap. Richmond spent the last year training Afghan marksmanship instructors — in Afghanistan. Both Eller and Richmond are assigned to the AMU. Their competion begins at 0900 (watch online) on Thursday, 8/2, and the finals will be televised at 1645 by NBCSN.
Army SSgt Michael McPhail , also assigned to the AMU, competes in the Men’s 50m Rifle Prone on Fri, 8/3 at 0900 televised on NBCSN.
Sgt Vincent Hancock won gold in 2008, after the Army recruited him for the AMU in the Summer between his junior and senior year in High School! He will compete in Men’s Skeet on Mon 7/30 at 0900 (watch online) with the finals televised on Tuesday 8/31 at 1645 by NBCSN.
Sgt 1st Class Jason Parker earned his degree in Psychology from Xavier in 1996, before joining the Army. Assigned to the AMU, he competes in the Men’s 50m Rifle 3 Positions. NBCSN should air his competion on Monday, 8/6, at 0900 and 1130 on NBCSN.
Army Sgt 1st Class Keith Sanderson is a former marine who was asked to leave the AMU in 2006, after he wrote a paper on how training could be improved by incorporating more interservice techniques. Apparently, diplomacy is not his strong suit. All is now forgiven, although Sanderson is at Ft Carson on the WCAP. His strong suit is the 25m Rapid Fire Pistol event. It begins on Thursday, 8/2 at 1030 — view it online.
Also at the WCAP is Sgt 1st Class Daryl Szarenski who competes in the 10m Air Pistol on Sat, 7/28, watch online at 1200, and the 50m Air Pistol on Sunday, 8/5, at 0900, televised by NBCSN at 1150. As an aside, Szarenski’s brother went to West Point, that other service academy.
Would you take a significant demotion and pay cut for the chance to compete in the Olympics? Army 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft did! NBCSN will air his 50m Rifle Prone event on Fri, 8/3, at 0900 and 1200. Eric is a former Navy lieutenant (captain to us Air Force types) with a degree in Aerospace Engineering — something us zoomies can appreciate. He changed career fields to become an enlisted rifle instructor at the AMU. My guess is that this happened after he married his current teammate, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Sandra Uptagraft who switched to the Navy after serving in the Army as an instructor in the AMU from 1992-1995. (Ironic!) She is now a communications specialist in Marietta, GA. She spent the last year in Afghanistan, not firing her pistol, but building bridges and wells with her SeeBee unit! I fear that NBCSN will be focusing on her Women’s Shooting teammates, all of whom are younger and have supermodel looks. I say that Sandra is the one who deserves our support, for holding a real job, serving in Afghanistan, and still qualifying for the olympics. Watch for her online, on Sunday, 7/29 at 0900 in the Women’s 10m Air Pistol (it might get shown on NBCSN at 1330) and online in the 25mPistol on Wednesday, 8/1 at 0900. Send this couple a “Happy Wedding Anniversary” tweet @usashooting on Sunday, 8/5.
Marine Sgt Jamel Herring served two tours in Iraq, including Fallujah, and at 26 years old has experienced grief over the death of his comrades and his own infant daughter (from SID). Currently stationed as an electrician at Camp Lejeune, NC, he boxes in the light welterweight class. His leadership skills led to his selection as Captain of Team USA Boxing. And, five inches taller than me, he also weighs less than me (aargh). His first bout is on Tuesday, 7/31 (I could not find the time). Try catching it on NBCSN at 1400 or CNBC 1700, and maybe featured on CNBC at 0300 (yeah, a.m.) on Wednesday 8/1.
There it is, our Olympic Viewing Schedule. Opening Ceremonies are tonight, Friday 7/27 at 1900 on NBC. The commercials should be great, too; I posted Bounty saluting Olympian mothers at the end of this article.
Do any of you spreadsheet/table gurus feel like compiling this on a chart for the rest of us? If so, please email it to me USAFA80Lady<at>gmail.com, and I’ll post it here with credit. Speaking of credits, my resources were Layne Kasper, ’92, The Army Times online, NBC online, Yahoo.com, and USA Shooting on twitter.