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USAMU’s Shaun Tichenor Added to 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (August 26, 2016)

Good fortune was bestowed upon another USA Shooting Team athlete Friday with the news that active-duty soldier Shaun Tichenor (Brainerd, Minnesota) was being added to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team. Tichenor’s addition comes on the heels of two additional athletes earning the same opportunity Tuesday.  

Tichenor, a pistol shooter for the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) in Fort Benning, Georgia, joins Tricia Downing and Marco DeLaRosa as late Team USA additions.  The additions come as a result of a CAS decision to uphold the suspension of the Russian National Paralympic Committee (NPC).  As a result, reallocated shooting slots were directly awarded by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) to the three pistol shooters. 

“I am so very happy and excited to have Trish, Shaun and Marco join us for the Paralympic Games in Rio.  The addition of these three athletes to our team is a testament to the hard work, sacrifice and results they contributed to our program over the past four years,” said National Paralympic Coach Bob Foth. “The fact that the IPC added them demonstrates how very close they were to making it on their own during the original process.  Fortune has a way of finding those that worked hard to earn it.” 

To see the release on Downing and DeLaRosa, click here.

Tichenor, Downing and DeLaRosa add to a U.S. Paralympic Shooting Team that was already the largest in the short history of the sport.  They join Mike Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin) on the pistol squad set to compete in Rio alongside rifle competitors McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington), Jazmin Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas), Tammy Delano (Rome, New York) and John Joss (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Corsicana, Texas). 

The 2016 Paralympic Games begin Wednesday, September 7 with the Opening Ceremony. Tichenor will compete in P1 (Air Pistol) on Friday, September 9 followed by P3 (Sport Pistol) on Sunday, September 11. 

“It has been a real roller coaster ride,” Tichenor said. “I didn't earn a quota and thought I might go as staff, but that just didn’t develop. Then seeing two of my teammates added earlier this week and not get the call, that was rough.  Today I wake up to learn my chance did come through. The hard work of USA Shooting and the USAMU made this happen. How many people can say they got notified four days before departure and are ready to go? That usually takes a month. I can’t thank everyone enough for the support and I promise I will do my best.”  

Shaun Tichenor 

For Sgt. 1st Class Shaun Tichenor, representing the United States has a divided definition: wearing the flag not only on the back of his Team USA jacket, but also on the shoulder of his Army uniform. 

Tichenor’s journey to the Paralympic Pistol scene has been a bumpier story than most athletes are able to tell.  From 1997-2001 he began his Army career, and then found himself re-enlisting in 2010 as part of the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, New York. While many of his future teammates were competing at the 2012 Paralympic Games, Tichenor was deploying to Afghanistan.  While watching over a road suspected of carrying explosive material transports, Tichenor followed in his team’s footsteps through the burning sand and passed over a pressure plate for an improvised explosive device (IED), which activated as he stepped on it. 

After being wounded, Tichenor was placed in intensive care at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington D.C.  After analysis of his injury, Tichenor, an avid runner, was given the option to quit running and have a lifetime of pain or choose to amputate — a choice that would change his career forever.  Within four months, with the help of his internal drive for success and new assistive prosthesis, he was back to running and was cleared to return to duty.  It was during this time Tichenor spoke with Paralympic Assistant Coach Sgt. (Armando) Ayala, and became interested in the Army Marksmanship Unit as a way to continue serving active duty. 

After his eight months at Walter Reed, Tichenor traveled to Fort Benning, Georgia to become part of the Paralympic Team at the Army Marksmanship Unit. Joining other active-duty amputees like himself, he began to learn the ropes of International Air and Free Pistol. 

Learn more about Tichenor’s story written by Lauren Phillips in this September 2015 Profile.

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