Former rifle shooter Mary (Elsass) Weeks (Valley, Ala.) has been elected by USA Shooting eligible athlete members as the organization’s new Athlete Advisory Representative (AAC). Weeks will take over the chair vacated by two-time Olympian Connie Smotek (Lyons, Texas) after serving the previous eight years in that role. AAC alternate for the next four years is rapid-fire pistol shooter Emil Milev (Tampa, Fla.).
The AAC representative is responsible for broadening athlete communication between the USOC and USAS Board of Directors providing input to those bodies with regard to both current and contemplated policies. The AAC is a member of the USAS Board and sits on the Executive Committee. AAC representatives are elected to a four-year term beginning in January of the year following the Olympic Games.
Weeks joins Lones Wigger (Colorado Springs, Colo.), Bob Delfay (Aiken, S.C.), Butch Eller (Katy, Texas) and U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit Lieutenant Commander Don King (Ft. Benning, Ga.) as recent additions to the USA Shooting Board of Directors. Another notable athlete addition to USA Shooting’s Board of Directors includes three-time Olympian Jason Turner (Rochester, N.Y.) as pistol representative replacing 2012 Olympian Sandra Uptagrafft (Phenix City, Ala.).
Weeks started shooting with Langley Junior Rifle Club in Hampton, Va., and attended the University of Kentucky on academic and athletic scholarships. As a member of the University of Kentucky’s rifle team, she was an eight-time first-team All-American and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in communications.
Weeks continued her competitive rifle shooting after college as a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and as a soldier in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Ga. During her tenure on the national team, she competed in various national and international matches to include the World Shooting Championships, the CISM Military World Shooting Championships, and the Pan American Games. She retired from competitive shooting in 2004 to attend law school and currently practices law in Columbus, Ga. She is married to competitive skeet shooter Mark Weeks.
“I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to work with USA Shooting and the athletes over the next quad,” said Weeks. “The sport has given me so much over the years, and I’m looking forward to giving something back.”
The departing AAC representative Smotek has been involved with USA Shooting since 1980 having learned to shoot international-style skeet in Colorado Springs that year at a training camp led by World and Olympic champions Dean Clark and Matt Dryke. At her first national championship in 1981, she missed making the national team by one target. After that, she went on to win 10 national championships, six World Cup titles – including one World Cup Final, set one world record, and earned a place on two Olympic teams in her shooting career.
Smotek graduated from Texas A&M University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. She has worked for Texas A&M University in the Department of Agricultural Economics since 1995. Connie and her husband, Patrick, raise whitetail deer as a side business.
“It has been a great honor and opportunity to represent USA Shooting Athletes for the past eight years,” said Smotek. “I have enjoyed working with the USOC, USA Shooting, and Athletes’ Advisory Council members communicating the interests and protecting the rights of athletes. I know Mary Weeks will do a great job in this position!”
The 2012 Olympian Milev began shooting in 1984, taking up rapid fire pistol and becoming part of the Bulgarian National Shooting Team two years later. He competed in three Olympic Games for his native Bulgaria and won a silver medal in Atlanta 1996 while finishing fourth in Sydney in 2000.
Milev moved to the United States with his family in 2004 after competing in the Athens Olympic Games. In 2009, he became part of the USA Shooting National Pistol Team. Since then, he has won gold medals in the 2012 National Championship and Pan American Games and placing third in the World Cup in Munich. Milev is a physical education teacher at B.T. Washington Elementary School in Tampa.
The 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in Air Pistol, Turner is among the most talented pistol shooters in the U.S., earning his way onto various international teams during his illustrious career. Jason earned his first trip to the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, secured two spots on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team in Air Pistol and Free Pistol and competed in the recent London Games in the Air Pistol event as well.
Petty Officer First Class Uptagrafft is a member of the Navy Reserves and specializes in information technology. She is married to Eric Uptagrafft, a member of the National Rifle Team. Sandra deployed with her Seabee unit, Third Naval Construction Regiment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in June 2010 before coming back for a successful attempt at making the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
Image courtesy USA Shooting