Iraq War Veteran Josh Olson Earns 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team Nomination
USA Shooting is proud to announce the nomination of Sergeant First Class Josh Olson (Spokane, Wash.) to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team. Olson qualified for the team based on the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) two-part qualification system for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. On Jan. 15, the IPC announced that the U.S. earned a second participation slot per the minimum qualifying score (MQS) Allocations.
At the 2011 IPC World Cup in Sydney, Australia, Olson finished sixth in R3 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH1). Earlier that year, he finished seventh in R6 (Mixed 50m Rifle Prone) at the IPC World Cup Alicante and eighth in R6 at the IPC World Cup USA.
While on patrol with his unit (101st Airborne division third brigade 1/187) in Iraq in 2002, Olson was struck with a rocket-propelled grenade resulting in the loss of his right leg from the hip down. After spending 18 months at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Olson received his assignment to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Ga. This is Olson’s first Paralympic Games nomination-he just missed the threshold in 2008, but has been a member of the National Paralympic Team for five years. Josh is also involved in the TROOPS F1RST Foundation and has participated in “Operation Proper Exit” where he aided other vets recovering from injuries sustained during combat by visiting their place of injury in Iraq. In honor of his service and dedication to the country, Olson was awarded the Purple Heart from former President George W. Bush
Upon notice of his nomination, an elated Olson recognized those who have helped him on his journey: “I want to thank my family and friends for all the support, understanding and sacrifice; my coaches for the instruction and worldclass mentorship; and finally, the U.S. Army for providing the opportunity to continue to serve and represent the USA on the world stage.”
National Paralympic Coach Bob Foth is anxious to now lead two talented athletes into competition in London. USA Shooting previously announced in December 2011 the nomination of Eric Hollen (Colorado Springs, Colo.) to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Shooting Team.
“Olson has worked hard and overcome so many obstacles on this journey and will be a great teammate,” Foth said with enthusiasm and pride Josh lost his leg while serving his country and now has a chance to represent all of us in the highest level of international competition. His story of sacrifice and determination is so motivating for anyone who has met him.”
Sgt. 1st Class Olson will be in attendance at the Shooting Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT) in Las Vegas, Nev., this week with the Troops First Foundation. For interviews, please contact USA Shooting Media and Public Relations Manager Katie Yergensen at [email protected]. Josh will also be available at the USA Shooting press conference on Thursday, Jan. 19 in the Murano Press Conference Room at 11:30AM.
All team nominations to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team are contingent upon approval by U.S. Paralympics, a division of the U.S. Olympic Committee.