A dream that began in 2000 is closer to becoming reality for a Soldier from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
Josh Richmond won a bronze medal March 3 in Men’s Double Trap at the 2011 Chile World Cup, and with the points he earned in the match, exceeded the threshold required to get a shot at the U.S. Olympic team for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.
“It is an unbelievable feeling knowing that I have successfully reached the line in the sand,” Richmond said. “This has been a long time coming for me since I was a competitor in the last selection process, coming up just short for the 2008 team.”
Richmond has been there before but ended up on the other side of the line. He was making a good run for the 2008 team but one bad day of shooting along the way cost him one of two spots on Team USA that were eventually earned by two of his comrades in the USAMU, Glenn Eller and Jeff Holguin. Eller went on to win the gold medal.
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“It was somewhat of a bittersweet experience for me seeing my two teammates compete in the Olympics without me; however, we could not have sent a stronger team to the games,” he said. “I learned a lot of lessons from that experience and have trained to help prevent them from happening again. More specifically I have gained the confidence and knowledge to overcome the pressures of competing on the international level.”
The milestone does not guarantee Richmond a spot on the team. If another shooter moves past him in points earned in international competition, then that shooter would earn the automatic slot. Richmond, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, is well ahead of those chasing him but has no intentions of taking his foot off the gas.“From this point forward my goals really do not change,” he said. “Anytime I am competing at a world-level competition I have my sights set on the gold medal.
“The only thing that will change is we will start catering my training to the Olympics by running different situations and perfecting my equipment and mental state that I will use for the Olympic Games, assuming I will be named to the team this fall.”
Richmond, a native of Williamsport, Pa., said he has many to thank and the added bonus of being a Soldier allows him to have the benefit of being supported by not only his god-given family but also his Army family.“Without the support of the USAMU and the team, these achievements would be impossible to reach,” he said.
“It is a great advantage to work every day with Olympians and world champions. Every day I step on the line I am reminded by the level of teammates that I have which only makes us as a group stronger. It is also a huge advantage that when competing overseas we still work as a group and push each other so we all succeed.
“I have a long list of individuals that I credit my success to, starting with my family. Without them investing time and money into what was once a family hobby there is no question that I would have never gotten these great opportunities. I have had many coaches over the years: Bud Greevy, Dan Carlise, Dean Clark, Dan Vitchoff and Bob Duvall. Each one of these coaches has had their own foot print in my success and will continue to train with me until we reach our ultimate goal of an Olympic medal.
“And last and most important I would like to mention is my wife and son. They are the ones who have patiently stood by and accepted this demanding and hectic lifestyle. They have sacrificed the most on this equation of supporters and they have their sights set on an Olympic gold medal.”
While the success on the line cannot be underestimated, it is not forgotten that he wears an Army combat uniform every day and not a Team USA shirt. That will ring true this fall, with or without that Olympic slot wrapped up, when he is scheduled for deployment with fellow USAMU Soldiers.
“I am excited to deploy this fall,” he said. “I actually have planned this into my training plan no matter the outcome of my position on the Olympic team or not. I think this is a great opportunity for me to have this experience prior to competing in the Olympics. I look forward to serving in a combat zone with my brothers in arms.”
“I am extremely proud of Staff Sgt. Richmond, not only for his tremendous accomplishments in showcasing the Army in support of recruiting and accessions, but also his personal courage in volunteering to contribute in this unit’s important marksmanship training effort in Afghanistan,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, commander, USAMU.
Richmond’s next match will be at the second World Cup event of the year in Sydney at the end of the month, where he looks to put more distance between himself and those chasing him.