Army's Olympic heroes recognized at AUSA convention
By DREW BROOKS | The Fayetteville Observer, N.C. (Tribune News Service) | Published: October 3, 2016
WASHINGTON — Two U.S. Army soldiers who won medals in the Rio Olympics - among a dozen who competed - were recognized Monday.
Secretary of the Army Eric K. Fanning highlighted the accomplishments in opening remarks for national Association of the U.S. Army meeting.
The medal winners included Spc. Paul Chelimo, a Kenya-born distance runner who attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and earned his citizenship through his Army service.
"He ran the race of his life, broke his personal best by 15 seconds and won silver," Fanning said.
Chelimo, a water treatment specialist, was cheered as he stood in a ballroom at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, holding up the medal he earned while competing in the 5,000 meters.
Another soldier, 2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks, earned a bronze medal in the pole vault, but his impact went well beyond an award.
"He inspired a nation by standing at attention midstride after hearing the National Anthem," Fanning said.
Kendricks received a roaring applause after the video of that event was played in the ballroom. He can be seen running with a pole, then slamming to a stop, dropping the pole and immediately snapping to attention.
"Lt. Kendricks can't be with us because he's at Fort Lee," Fanning said. "He's beginning his basic course as a transportation officer. Like all Army Olympians, he's a soldier first."
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