U.S. Army performing strong in Rio, only branch to medal

U.S Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks strives to make his way over the bar as he trains for the Rio 2016 Olympics at his former high school, Oxford High School, in Oxford, Mississippi, July 27, 2016. Kendricks, a member of the Army Reserve 655th Transportation Company in Millington, Tenn., won a Bronze medal in the pole vault event for Team U.S.A. (U.S. Army Reserve photo by Franklin Childress)

The first military member of the US team to medal at the Rio Olympics was Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Sam Kendricks. He cleared the pole vault bar at 19 feet 2-1/4 inches—winning the Bronze on Monday night. Kendricks is a five-time U.S. champion, who represented Team USA at the 2012 London games.

The Univ. of Mississippi alum stated that he was proud “to represent the Americans on two fronts, as a military man and as a U.S. athlete,” military.com reports.

“Those guys are really proud of me and have given me every chance to continue as a civilian… As a military man and as a U.S. athlete, I keep my haircut in order to put the best foot forward for all the soldiers who are watching,” he said.

Other U.S. military members still have a chance to medal in the 2016 Olympics. Today, Army Sgt. Hillary Bor will compete in the Men’s 3,000 meter Steeplechase Final and Army Spc. Paul Chelimo will try to qualify in the Men’s 5,000 meter.

Army Secretary Eric Fanning took to Twitter to congratulate Kendricks on Monday night’s feat. “Still thinking about @SamKendricks’s medal last night, Now, even more energized for my trip to #Rio2016. #ArmyProud” Fanning will be part of the US Presidential Delegation attending the closing ceremonies this weekend.

Kendricks’ win marked the first pole vault medal for the United States in a dozen years. In 2004, Tim Mack and Toby Stevenson went 1-2 at the Athens Olympic Games.

This year, Brazil’s Thiago Silva won the gold medal with an Olympic record of 19 feet 8 inches. The silver went to France’s world record holder, Renaud Lavillenie.

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  • Michele graduated with a B.S. in Telecommunication from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications. She has spent numerous years working in the news industry in south Florida, including many positions ranging from being a news writer at WSVN, the Fox affiliate in Miami to being an associate news producer at WPLG-TV, the ABC affiliate in Miami. Michele has also worked in Public Relations and Marketing.

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