Army 1st Lt. Amber English took home Olympic Gold in skeet shooting by besting the defending champion Diana Boscani of Italy. English shot 56 of 60 targets to win the Gold Medal. 

English’s 56 was three off of the world record of 59, which had been set by China’s Wei Meng. However, the record holder came third in this final.

“I just feel numb right now, this has been a long time coming,” said English right after the award ceremony. “I feel sheer relief.”

US Army’s Amber English Brings Home the Gold in Skeet Shooting
U.S. Army 1LT Amber English exults after winning the Olympic Gold Medal for skeet shooting. (DVIDS)

She Didn’t Give Up

English had missed the cut for the Olympic team in 2012. In 2016, bothered by the recent loss of her father, she didn’t qualify for the main team. Yet, rather than giving up on her dream, she channeled her energy into also serving her country. 

Amber English joined the Army as a logistics officer in 2017 and quickly became a member of the Army’s Marksmanship Unit at Ft. Benning, GA. She received a lot of support from her fellow servicemembers to try for the Games one more time. English trained five to seven days per week from dawn to 16:30. This time, her hard work paid off.

She and nine other troops are representing the country and the military at the Tokyo Olympics as part of the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), which allows soldiers to perform at the international level of competition.

A Hard-fought Victory

The international Olympic shooting competition requires that athletes shoot 125 targets in two days of competition. 

English’s win over the reigning champion was close, beating Boscani by just a single point.

Speaking with the media after winning the event, English said that skeet shooting always comes down to the wire. She added that after her hard training and preparation, she was “fortunate to be able to put it together at the right time.”

“There was never a moment where I knew I ‘had it in the bag’,” said English. “It went all the way to the last station. I knew going through the last pass I had to hit at least two to tie or three to win.”

“All I could control was just my own shooting and my own emotions,” English said. 

US Army’s Amber English Brings Home the Gold in Skeet Shooting
English represented the USA as well as the US Army in the Tokyo Olympics. (DVIDS)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin congratulated Lt. Amber English.

“Your country is extremely proud of you today, and I’m so glad you’re representing us,” the secretary wrote on Twitter.

“One of the things I’ve learned since joining the military is that these people that I’m surrounded by, whether they’re shooting or whether deployed, whatever their job is in the military, they still have to figure out how to get the job done,” she had said in an interview with Military Family Magazine. “I’m surrounded by enough people to have that support to go get it done. They’ve pushed me daily to be in that environment.”

Vincent Hancock Joins Lt. Amber English in the Gold Dance

She wasn’t alone, however, in getting the United States a shooting medal. Just an hour after her Gold Medal win, Vincent Hancock took home the Gold Medal in men’s skeet shooting. It was his third Gold Medal setting a new record. 

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“I love that girl like a sister, and now we both have medals around our neck,” Hancock said. “It sets the tone of what can happen at USA Shooting. Our athletes have been shooting at a really high level for quite a few years now. Because we’re a small sport, we don’t quite get the recognition, but looking at the number of medals we win on a yearly basis, it’s impressive.”

English was proud to represent the United States and the U.S. Army after two failures to do so earlier in her quest. 

“It is a big honor,” said English. “There is a big sense of patriotism to know when your flag is up during the ceremony. There are a lot of people cheering us on, especially those in the Army.”

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