Soldier earns Olympic berth in Modern Pentathlon at Pan American Games
By Tim Hipps
Army Installation Management Command
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Spc. Nathan Schrimsher of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program rides a horse named Taboo en route to earning a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games with a third-place finish in men's Modern Pentathlon at the 2015 Pan American Games on July 19 in Toronto. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs #WCAP #RoadToRio #TeamUSA #2015PanAmerican Games
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Spc. Nathan Schrimsher of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program earns a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games with a third-place finish in the men's Modern pentathlon event Sunday at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs #WCAP #RoadToRio #TeamUSA #2015PanAmerican Games
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Spc. Nathan Schrimsher of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program defeats Emmanual Zapata of Argentina in a fencing bonus round bout en route to earning a berth in the 2016 Olympic Games with a third-place finish in men's Modern Pentathlon at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto on July 19. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs #WCAP #RoadToRio #TeamUSA #2015PanAmerican Games
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Olympian and Army Sgt. Dennis Bowsher (third from left) starts the 200-meter freestyle swim portion of the men's Modern Pentathlon event July 19 at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto. Bowsher finished seventh in swimming with a time of 2 minutes, 6.10 seconds and 10th in Modern Pentathlon with 1,348 points. U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, IMCOM Public Affairs
Feb. 25, 2016 —
TORONTO (July 19, 2015) -- Spc. Nathan Schrimsher earned an automatic
berth into the 2016 Rio Olympic Games with a third-place finish in men's
Modern Pentathlon on a stormy Sunday at the 2015 Pan American Games.
Schrimsher, 23, a Soldier in the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program,
or WCAP, from Roswell, New Mexico, took the bronze medal in the
five-sports-in-one-day event with 1,421 points.
"I'm ecstatic," Schrimsher said. "Yes, sir, it's awesome."
WCAP Sgt. Dennis Bowsher, 32, a 2012 Olympian from Dallas, finished 10th
with 1,348 points in the event, which includes fencing, swimming,
equestrian show jumping and combines cross-country running and laser
pistol shooting - all in one day.
"I think my day was OK," Bowsher said. "I'm definitely feeling my age.
The whole goal today was for one of us to get an Olympic quota spot, so
mission accomplished. Half the team is now Army, so next is for either
myself or Logan Storie to get it another spot basically off
world-ranking points over the next year.
"All three of us definitely are going to push each other, that way we
can get one more, along with Schrimsher, on the [U.S. Olympic] team."
Charles Fernandez of Guatemala won the gold with 1,444 points, followed
by silver medalist Ismael Hernandez Uscanga of Mexico with 1,439 points.
Fourth and fifth-place finishers Jose Figueroa (1,415) of Cuba and
Emmanuel Zapata (1,413) of Argentina also punched tickets to Rio de
Janeiro by virtue of by-name Olympic berths awarded to the top five.
The 800-meter cross-country running course consisted of rain-soaked turf
atop loose sod, which offered little stability for the runners, who
stopped four times to hit a target five times from 10 meters with laser
pistols. The competitor, who amassed the most points in the first three
events - fencing, swimming and horseback riding - started first,
followed by the rest of the field that faced a one-second handicap for
each pentathlon point by which they trailed the leader. Therefore, the
first competitor to cross the finish line was the gold medalist,
followed in order by the remainder of the field.
"I was very, very happy about Nathan, especially because he had a lot of
pressure from the best [combined run-and-shooters] in the world,
Esteban Bustos [of Chile, who finished sixth] and Jose Figueroa [who
finished fourth] from Cuba, I was worried that they could pass him,"
said Janusz Peciak, head coach of the U.S. Modern Pentathlon squad. "But
he really ran very smart.
"This running course was not designed for him because he is big and it
was raining and soaked, very wet," Pesiak said. "The Mexicans and the
Chileans are very light on their feet so it was much easier for them to
run. But he did a fantastic job, and he shot very well. His shooting was
Schrimsher knew what was required to accomplish the mission.
"Running is probably where I struggle in the pentathlon, and the ground
was wet," he said. "I was sinking to up over my ankles in a few spots. I
knew I really had to focus on shooting, and I shot well. The shooting
was what got it. Running, I just ran my race. If somebody got past me, I
knew [Hernandez Uscanga] would, I didn't let it bother me. I just ran
The first thunderstorm came shortly before Bowsher was scheduled to enter the riding course aboard a horse named Donaghan.
"It just started pouring, so they pulled me off," Bowsher said. "Then I
got to be the first one to experiment with that muddy field."
Bowsher experienced firsthand how the waiting can be the hardest part.
"You just don't know when you're going," he said. "You're warming up.
You're getting your adrenaline up and getting ready to ride, then have
to come down, but then you don't know when to bring it back up again
because you don't know when you're going. But it was fun."
Bowsher outsprinted Canadian Josh Riker-Fox to the line for a top-10 finish.
"I could hear the crowd, and I thought: 'Oh, great, he must be right
behind me.' Then I glanced, and sure enough, he was like two feet right
behind me. I just put my head down and was able to hold him off - a
small bit of satisfaction not hearing the roar as the Canadian passes
me. I was able to quiet them a little bit."
Bowsher, a three-time Pan American Games competitor, who is scheduled
next month to attend the Army's Advanced Leadership Course on Fort Lee,
Virginia, is proud of Schrimsher's accomplishment.
"He's been in the Army for a couple of years and I've been showing him
the ropes, both within the military and I think in pentathlon, as well,"
Bowsher said. "I'm glad I've been able to help and see him improve.
It's just a wonderful thing for him."