2014-03-14 / Sports

Eight Army veterans competing on U.S. Paralympic Team

By Gary Sheftick
Army News Service


Team USA’s Rico Roman pushes off two Italian defenders in Saturday’s sled hockey game in which the U.S. prevailed 5-1. 
Photo courtesy Sochi 2014 Team USA’s Rico Roman pushes off two Italian defenders in Saturday’s sled hockey game in which the U.S. prevailed 5-1. Photo courtesy Sochi 2014 An active-duty Soldier and seven Army veterans are competing this week in the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

Staff Sgt. Jen Lee of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program is backup goalie for the USA sled hockey team that beat Italy, 5-1, and Korea, 3-0, over the weekend and faces Russia Tuesday.

Army veterans on Team USA include:

• Retired Staff Sgt. Rico Roman, of Portland, Ore., who is also on the USA sled hockey team

• Retired Staff Sgt. Heath Calhoun of Clarksville, Tenn., who is competing in alpine skiing

• Former Spc. Joel Hunt, of Kokomo, Ind., scheduled to compete in the Men’s Giant Slalom – Standing, on March 15

• Retired Staff Sgt. Bryan Price of Belton, Mo., competing in Nordic or cross-country skiing

• Former Spc. Andy Soule of San Antonio, Texas, competing in biathlon and cross-country skiing

• Former Sgt. Jeremy Wagner of Nanakuli, Hawaii, who is competing in biathlon events

• Former Pfc. Patrick McDonald of Madison, Wis., is competing in wheelchair curling. Team USA lost to Slovakia Saturday, 6-4, and Korea, 9-5. On Sunday, they beat Norway, 8-5. They lost to Canada Monday, 7-2, and were edged out by Russia, 6-5.

Calhoun finished fourth in the Super-G-sitting skiing event Sunday with a time of 1 minute, 24.65 seconds, behind Japan’s Akira Kano who took gold with a time of 1:19.51. Japanese teammate Taiki Morii took silver with a time of 1:21.60 and Canada’s Caleb Brousseau took bronze with 1:22.05. Calhoun will also be competing in the combined Super-G Tuesday.

Soule finished 4th Saturday in the 7.5-km sitting biathlon competition with a time of 21:48.5. Russia’s Roman Petushkov took the gold with a time of 21:03.7. Ukraines’s Maksym Yarovy took the silver and Japan’s Kozo Kubo won the bronze. Soule and the other top three finishers never missed a target, finishing with a perfect shooting score.

Soule finished fifth in the 15-km cross-country skiing event Sunday with a time of 42:53.8. Russia’s Petushkov took the gold with a time of 40:51.6. Russia’s Irek Zaripov won the silver and Russia’s Aleksandr Davidovich took the bronze.

Soule is also scheduled to compete in the Men’s 12.5-km biathlon event Tuesday.

Wagner finished 18th in the 7.5-km sitting biathlon competition Saturday with a time of 26:16.1. He is also scheduled to compete in the Men’s 12.5-km biathlon event Tuesday.

Price finished 19th in in the Men’s 15-km sitting cross-country event Sunday with a time of 53:56.6. He is also scheduled to ski the 1-km sprint March 12, the 4X2.5-km Open Relay on March 15 and the Men’s 10-km on March 16.

The U.S. Army Warrior Transit ion Command congratulated all members of the 2014 U.S. Paralympic team last week and offered special encouragement to the eight Army athletes.

“The Warrior Transition Command encourages every wounded, ill and injured Soldier to have a sport to call their own,” said Lt. Col. Keith L. Williams, head of the Warrior Transition Command’s Adaptive Reconditioning Program. “When Soldiers face injury or illness, they can still participate in sports and other physical activities. These activities significantly enhance their physical and emotional recovery... The Soldiers and Army veterans on this year’s Paralympic team represent the enduring strength and resilience of the Army.”

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