Fort Benning soldier Josh Richmond nominated for 2012 Olympic team

benw@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 30, 2011 

Staff Sgt. Josh Richmond, a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, has qualified for a nomination to the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team, USA Shooting announced this week.

Richmond, who competes in the men’s double trap shooting, is the second soldier from the marksmanship unit nominated for selection to the Olympics. In June, Sgt. 1st Class Eric Uptagrafft was nominated to compete in the men’s prone rifle. Both selections are pending approval by the United States Olympic Committee.

Earning a spot on the team has been a longtime goal for Richmond, 25, of Hillsgrove, Pa.

“It was a great feeling … ,” Richmond said in a statement. “After I made the threshold, I immediately began to thank all of the coaches, family, friends and organizations that made this goal a reality, starting with the United States Army Marksmanship Unit for not only molding me into a soldier, but giving me the opportunity to compete and win at the highest level.”

Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, said Richmond is the epitome of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit noncommissioned officer. “Although he is a world champion and world-class athlete, Staff Sgt. Richmond proudly embraces his important roles as a U.S. Army leader, trainer and soldier first,” he said. “Our Army and our nation will be well served by Staff Sgt. Richmond’s representation on the U.S. Olympic Team in 2012.”

Since the 2008 Olympics, USA Shooting has used a point selection procedure for athletes to earn an Olympic nomination. Points are awarded for competition at the International Shooting Sport Federation or ISSF World Cups and World Championships.

Last year, Richmond started his quest for an Olympic spot when he took the gold medal at the World Cup in Acapulco. Later in Dorset, England, he finished fourth at the World Cup final.

In one of his best performances, Richmond won the World Shooting Championship in Munich, Germany, in a score that equaled the world record with 50 out of 50 targets. The performance earned him USA Shooting’s Male Athlete of the Year.

Richmond has continued competing at a high level this year with a bronze medal in Chile, a silver medal in Sydney, Australia, and a fourth place finish in the World Cup in Slovenia.

Bret Erickson, national shotgun coach, said Richmond is the top men’s double trap shooter in the world because he consistently delivers medal winning performances.

“His Olympic nomination comes from outstanding performance in 2010 and 2011 and I’m looking forward to having him represent our country in his first ever Olympic Games,” he said. “If he continues on the same path as the past two seasons, he will be a contender for the gold medal.”

Before competing in the Olympics, Richmond will deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

“I look forward to representing the country not only in my upcoming deployment but also in the Olympic Games where my goal is to bring home the gold for the United States,” he said.

Hodne said the marksmanship unit is extremely proud and has high expectations for both shooters in 2012.

“The USAMU also has high expectations that we will fill more positions on the Olympic Team with our soldiers,” Hodne said.

“Our Army expects it too.”

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