Soldier Sets Two Olympic Records En Route to Double Trap Gold
(August 13, 2008)
Three-time Olympian Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III
of the U.S. Army Marskmanship Unit signals
triumph by holding his 12-gauge shotgun and
final two shells aloft after setting an Olympic
record with a score of 190 in double trap Aug.
12, 2008, at the Beijing Shooting Range.
U.S. Army Photo by Tim
BEIJING, Aug. 13, 2008 – Spc.
Walton Glenn Eller III, of the U.S. Army
Marksmanship Unit, set two Olympic records en
route to winning a gold medal in double trap at
the Beijing Shooting Range here yesterday.
Marksmanship unit teammate Spc. Jeffrey Holguin
finished fourth in the event.
Eller's score of 145 in the qualification rounds
eclipsed the previous Olympic record of 144 set
in the 2004 Athens Games by United Arab Emirates
shooter Ahmed Almaktoum, who finished seventh in
In double trap, competitors fire their 12-gauge
shotguns from five adjacent shooting stations.
At each station, two targets are thrown
simultaneously from an underground bunker at
speeds up to 50 mph at set angles and height.
The targets are thrown with a variable delay of
up to one second, and competitors get one shot
realized with my last pair to go, ‘Oh, the
Olympic record is only 144. If I hit my last
pair, I'm going to get the Olympic record.'"
When Eller did that, he said, he sensed he was on his
way to a spectacular day. He missed his first two targets in
the final, but settled down and missed only three shots the
rest of the way. |
“If you shoot the Olympic record [in qualification rounds]
and you've got a little bit of a lead, you expect to come
out with gold,” Eller said. “But after I went out there [in
the final] and missed that first pair, it was a little dicey
there for a second, but I brought it all back together.”
Eller's final score of 190 topped Almaktoum's world record
of 189, also set in Athens. Italy's Francesco D'Aniello won
the silver medal in Beijing with a score of 187, and China's
Binyuan Hu took the bronze with a 184 total.
“It's incredible,” said Eller, 26, a native of Katy, Texas,
who is stationed at Fort Benning, Ga. “I finally made a
final in the Olympics. I came in like 12th [in Sydney] and
17th [in Athens], and finally came out and put a good day
together. This was the only thing I was worried about for
the last two years.”
Explaining his key to success, Eller reached into his vest
and revealed a handful of trading cards.
“Hard work,” the three-time Olympian said as he shuffled
cards featuring soldiers of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
“That, and I had my teammates with me. The military has been
great to me. They've helped me fulfill a dream that, without
them, I don't think would've ever happened. I owe everything
“Joining the Army was an incredible gain for me,” he
continued. “It gave me a lot of discipline. I was fortunate
enough to go into the Army Marksmanship Unit. It's great
having those guys to train with every day. They really
pushed me along. Just working
U.S. Army Marksmanship
Unit shotgun shooter Spc. Walton Glenn Eller III
takes his final shot to secure a gold medal with
an Olympic record score of 190 in double trap
Aug. 12, 2008, in Beijing.
U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps
with them all day, every day,
it keeps you in it.
Being a soldier means he's expected to do what's asked of
him, Eller noted. “For right now, they asked me to come to
the Olympics and win a gold medal for the United States,” he
said. “I don't know how to better represent them than with a
gold medal in my hand.” |
Eller said he couldn't wait to give his parents a big bear
“I'm going to go find my parents and celebrate,” he said.
“They've been here all week, and to the last two Olympics,
watching me. To have them here and to finally win a gold
medal for them is incredible. The crowd was amazing. The
facilities were incredible.”
Holguin, 29, of Yorba Linda, Calif., finished fourth with a
“I shot really well today, until the final,” Holguin said.
“This game is all about putting four good rounds together,
and honestly, I could only manage two. I had a mediocre
round and a bad round. So when you've got two good rounds,
they don't offset the mediocre and bad rounds.
“Finishing fourth,” he added, “that's where you finish when
you shoot like I did in the final.”
On this day, Holguin tipped his cap to Eller.
“It's all about him now,” Holguin said. “Glenn Eller and I
started shooting against each other a long, long time ago,
and we actually enlisted in the Army together in the fall of
2006. This was half of our goal. We wanted gold and silver
at the Olympics. We came really close, but I'm happy for
But during the competition, Holguin said, he did not pull
“When we're out on the shooting line, we take the gloves off
and go at it as hard as anybody else,” Holguin said. “I
don't feel bad when he misses a target. If he would have
lost the gold medal, yeah, I would have felt badly for him,
but not if I was in the silver medal position. I'd be
chasing him the whole way.”
Holguin agreed with Eller that joining USAMU was their best
“Joining the Army was probably the best thing I could've
done for my shooting career, just because of the discipline
and structure that comes along with the Army,” Holguin said.
“The Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning has world-class
shooting facilities. We shoot with and against some of the
best in the world,” he said. “I've been training with the
2008 Olympic gold medalist for the last two years straight
since I joined the Army, so the Army has definitely taken my
shooting to the next level.
“My heartfelt thanks go out to everybody who has been behind
me this whole time, but it's Glenn's day,” Holguin said. “He
earned it. He deserves it.”
By Tim Hipps
American Forces Press Service
Tim Hipps works for the U.S. Army Family, Morale, Welfare
and Recreation Command.
Forces Press Service / DoD
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