07/26/2021 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/26/2021 10:53
Photo by:U.S. Army
Army Reserve 1st Lt. Amber English became the first U.S. service member to win a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics following her record-breaking first-place finish in women's shotgun skeet on July 26.
English hit 56 of 60 targets, setting an Olympic record and edging out the 2016 women's skeet gold medalist Diana Bacosi, of Italy, by one target. She is the second American to win gold in skeet.
'Her story is remarkable, we talked about shooting being in her family's DNA,' a TV moderator said as English clinched gold. 'Amber English, the 31-year-old Colorado Springs native, in her Olympic debut, climbs to the top of the podium in Tokyo and women's skeet, and she has won gold.'
English cried, hugged her coaches and pumped her fist as she took in the win.
'All I could control was just my own shooting and my own emotions,' English said after the win.
Prior to her service in the Army, English shot with members of the Army Marksmanship Unit. After her father died, English decided to make a change and join the Army.
'I shot with a lot of the guys from the Army Marksmanship Unit when I was a civilian, living at the Olympic Training Center,' English said, according to the Army. 'Unfortunately, I lost my dad in between the Olympic Trials four years ago, and I just decided that I needed a serious change of pace. … Finally I just decided to join the Army.'
Reflecting on shotgun skeet during an interview with the Words We Live By, a podcast produced by the Seattle Army Recruiting Battalion, English said shooting is central to who she is.
'I wouldn't know how to live, pretty much, without that aspect of my life. You know, I grew up and that was such a big part of my family growing up,' English said. 'I love that shooting is giving me the opportunity to travel the world and make a lot of friendships that I normally wouldn't have made without it and to be part of [a] team.'
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin took to Twitter to celebrate the win.
'A huge congratulations to U.S. Army 1st Lt. Amber English on not only winning a gold medal in skeet shooting, but also setting an Olympic record,' he wrote. 'Your country is extremely proud of you today, and I'm so glad you're representing us.'
English is one of 12 soldier-athletes competing in the Tokyo Olympics, which began July 23.