U.S. Army Reserve 1st Lt. Amber English became the first Soldier to win a medal at the Olympic Games when she claimed the gold in the women’s skeet event in Tokyo.
This Colorado Springs, Colorado, native not only won the gold, but she also set a new Olympic record when she hit 56 of 60 targets in the final.
This Soldier is also the second woman in American history to win an Olympic skeet gold medal. The first was six-time Olympian Kim Rhode, who competed in trap and skeet and won three golds, one silver and two bronze.
English, who was ranked No. 24 in the world prior to the Olympic Games, is a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program and trains with other shotgun Olympians at the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, which is located at Fort Benning, Georgia.
After just missing out on the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, the 31-year-old English said she was determined to not let this opportunity slip away from her. However, with competition so tight, English had to fight.
In the qualification rounds, English shot 121 of 125 targets, which put her into the finals in third place. Only the top six athletes move onto the finals.
In the finals, she was up against the 2016 Olympic skeet gold medalist, Diana Bacosi of Italy, who took home the silver with just one target less than English. The bronze medal went to Wei Ming of China.
The finals were close and every target counted, leaving no room for error. English told Team USA that all she could do was rely on her training and give it her all.
“I was very fortunate to put everything together at the right time,” she said. “I trained very hard. There are some things that I would like to go back (to) from the match, but the shooters that adapt faster are the ones who get better results. All I could control was my own shooting and emotions. It is always down to the last wire."