Rio Olympics 2016: Active-duty Athletes to Watch
With the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games only a few days away, we’re profiling three USA’s athletes and current military members: Cale Simmons, Nathan Schrimsher, Glenn Eller, and Shadrack Kipchirchir.
Cale Simmons: Pole Vault in American Track & Field; United States Air Force
Simmons attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he was a member of the track and field team. In 2012, his junior year, he earned All-American first team honors. He qualified for the Olympic games this past July, finishing second place in the pole vault trails in Oregon.
Both service and athletics run deep in the Simmons household. All three Simmons children – Cale’s twin brother, Rob, and his older sister, Rachel – pole vault and are active USAF. Cale is 25 years old and from Rocklin, California.
Nathan Schrimsher: Modern Pentathlon; U.S. Army Sargent
Nathan Schrimsher Olympics Army World Class Athlete
Nathan Schrimsher (U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps)
Schrimsher competed in pentathlons at Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell, New Mexico.
In January of 2013, he enlisted in the United States Army as an active duty motor transport operator (88M). He is currently part of the Army’s World Class Athlete program, which allows soldier-athletes to maintain their athletic pursuits with the goal of competing in the Olympics. The World Class Athlete program is a feeder for top Winter Games athletes, too.
Schrimsher won the bronze at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, earning him his spot on the U.S. Rio team. He is 24 years old and from Roswell, New Mexico.
Glenn Eller: Trap Shooter; U.S. Army Sergeant First Class
Born in Houston, Texas, Eller learned how to shoot at the age of 8. He began his professional shooting career in 1996 when he became the first American to win the British Open Sporting Clays Junior Championship. He joined the Army in 2006 and is also currently a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit stationed at Ft. Benning, Georgia.
He has competed in four Olympics (2000, 2004, 2008, 2012), and won his first gold medal in the double trap competition at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and hopefully he can repeat that accomplishment at his fifth summer games. He is 34 years old.
Shadrack Kipchirchir: Army
Shadrack Kipchirchir is a Kenyan-born American distance track and field Olympian, who specializes in the 10,000-meter competition. He is a first-time Olympian, qualifying with a second place finish in the 10,000-meter race at the Stanford Invitational with a time of 27 minutes 58 seconds.
After completing his track and field career at Oklahoma State, Shadrack enlisted in the U.S. Army, following the path of his older brother, Nicholas.
"Distance running has given me a discipline," Kipchirchir said, according to ESPN.com. "But I want to have that military background." He currently serves as an Army Specialist and is a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program.
Veterans Advantage has a long history of supporting our military athletes. Last May in Orlando, Veterans Advantage attended the 2016 Invictus Games, underwriting free Veterans Advantage Member Plans for Team USA.
On November 13, 2016, Veterans Advantage will host the 5th Annual "Heroes meet Heroes" event at the New York Athletic Club (NYAC). In the iconic Trophy Room, NYAC Olympians will meet with Veterans Advantage members and wounded warriors to thank them for their service. Two-time Olympic gold medalist Donna de Varona, a Veterans Advantage board member and spouse to a U.S. Army Reservist, will once again serve as Master of Ceremonies. Paul "Bud" Bucha, a Medal of Honor recipient, Veterans Advantage board member and All-American swimmer, will offer remarks. Cedric Jones, former NFL star and Athletic Director of the New York Athletic Club is the Guest of Honor.