COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Earlier this month the International Olympic Committee decided to postpone the 2020 summer games until next year. That decision impacted two Fort Benning soldiers who just recently earned a spot on team USA.
Specialist Phillip Jungman and First Lieutenant Amber English were alternates on the 2016 US Olympic Skeet Shooting team. Earlier this month their hopes of making the team actually came true. Now their dream is delayed.
They both earned spots on the team in early March during the Olympic trials in Tucson, Arizona. It was an emotional time for both.
“It was crazy it was almost surreal," 1st LT. English said.
“You’re in tears, but they’re tears of joy," Spc. Jungman said. "I’ve been trying to accomplish this for over half my life.”
Now they’ll have to wait a bit longer. Just weeks after their success in the Olympic trials, the 20-20 games get pushed back a year, putting that dream on hold.
“Initially my heart kind of sank because I didn’t really know what was going to happen,” Spc. Jungman said.
“One positive takeaway is that they didn’t get canceled,” 1st Lt. English said.
No cancellation means more time for preparation. Specialist Jungman and 1st Lt. English have to practice at home for now because of COVID-19, and that comes with limitations.
“You could train as much as you want at the house, but you need to recreate that competitive feeling by going to matches,” Spc. Jungman said.
“We could just do simple gun mounts and just do the repetition of what we would set ourselves up to do at a normal competition without obviously shooting shells in our house,” 1st Lt. English said.
It’s no doubt a disappointing situation for these two, but they know their goal is delayed for good reason.
“The good of all humanity is more important than practicing and competing at the Olympics,” Spc. Jungman said.
“We’ll take a postponement over a cancellation,” 1st Lt. English said.
With extra time to prepare, there may be more to celebrate in the summer of 2021.
“I still have a goal and it’s going to be accomplished it’s just a little later,” 1st Lt. English said. I’m still very excited about the Olympics and I know everyone else is too and we’ll get there and I think we’ll be stronger because of it."
Both Specialist Jungman and 1st Lt. English are still part of team USA. They won’t have to re-tryout for the Olympics.
No timetable yet on when they’ll be able to get back out and continue official practices for next year’s games.