Five Shooters Earn 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team Nominations

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (May 12, 2016)

Back row (left to right):  Paralympian John Joss, National Paralympic Coach Bob Foth.  Front Row (left to right):  Paralympians Mike Tagliapietra, Jazmin Almlie-Ryan, Tammy Delano and McKenna Dahl.Showcasing the depth and growth of USA Shooting’s Paralympic program, five athletes have been named to the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team.  The 2016 Paralympic Games take place September 7-16 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   

Mike Tagliapietra (Fond du Lac, Wisconsin), McKenna Dahl (Arlington, Washington), John Joss (U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit/Corsicana, Texas), Jazmin Almlie-Ryan (Houston, Texas) and Tammy Delano (Rome, New York) will all represent Team USA later this summer as first-time Paralympic selections.  All five athletes helped earn the five Paralympic quotas the U.S. obtained during competition in 2014 and 2015. All Paralympic nominations are subject to the approval of the U.S. Olympic Committee and U.S. Paralympics.  

“Our program has come a very long way since London with greater depth, better results and more visibility," said USA Shooting National Paralympic Coach Bob Foth.  "The strides we’ve taken are nearly miraculous given the short timeframe and limited resources to work with.  These five athletes have all invested so much in this process and it is amazing to be part of this team. I’m tremendously excited about the possibilities going into Rio. 

“None of these five athletes were really in contention four years ago and now all have earned Direct Allocation (Quota) places for Team USA.  Additionally, all five have done the hard work to earn the right to use those slots themselves and are competitive at the highest levels of the sport.  All have made finals and won medals and bring a wide variety of strengths and abilities into their events.    The challenges all have overcome in order to be here have given them remarkable resilience and broad perspectives on the sport and life.  I couldn’t be more proud of the accomplishments that have led them to this moment and can’t wait to see how they’ll perform in Rio.”

“The thing I am looking forward to the most is representing my country at the Paralympics,” the 44-year-old Delano said.  “Very few people get the chance to experience all that I have in my shooting career, and even less get to represent their country at this level. It's still hard to believe that this is happening to me. I am truly honored to represent the United States of America. The only thing that can make this experience better is bringing home a medal.” 

“Words cannot express the tremendous amount of excitement I have as this is something I've been working towards,” said the 34-year-old Almlie-Ryan. “Sure, five years ago when I began this journey, I told myself that I'd one day make it to being one of the top shooters in the United States and eventually represent this country at the Paralympic Games. But now that we are here, now in the present, and that dream is becoming reality, I can't express the amount of pride that I have. The journey thus far has been an amazing one, and I look forward to continuing on this path and representing this awesome country at the 2016 Paralympic Games!" 

Tagliapietra is the only pistol shooter with the rest competing in rifle.  All athletes other than Joss, who is a Sergeant in the U.S. Army, are resident athletes at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.  Short bios on each of the 2016 U.S. Paralympic Team athletes can be found below. 

More than 4,350 athletes from 160 nations are expected to compete in 22 sports during the 2016 Paralympic Games. U.S. media rights holders NBCUniversal and the USOC will build on its unprecedented coverage of the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, with more coverage of the Games than ever before in 2016. The networks will air 66 hours of coverage of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, an increase of 60.5 hours from the coverage of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, while and will provide comprehensive online coverage. 

USA’s Paralympic history in Shooting includes three medals overall. Roger Withrow earned the only gold medal thus far at the Stoke Mandeville/New York 1984 Paralympic Games for the 10m Prone Air Rifle event. West Brownlow also earned a bronze medal that same year in Air Pistol. Current Alaska Fairbanks head coach Dan Jordan is the last Paralympic medal winner for the U.S. having earned a silver medal in the Three-Position Rifle event at the 2004 Athens Games. 

Most recently in London, Josh Olson (Spokane, Washington) finished 12th and 28th in his two rifle events while Eric Hollen (Colorado Springs, Colorado) finished 14th and 23rd in his two pistol events.  China was the top team after earning four gold medals during the competition.  

Shooting first appeared as a demonstration event at the Stoke Mandeville 1972 Paralympic Games. Shooting became an official Paralympic event at the Toronto 1976 Paralympic Games. The sport’s debut came with 14 participating countries and only three medal events. 

There are 12 events for Paralympic shooting, which include eight rifle and four pistol events. Paralympic shooting offers three events for men and three events for women. Men and women compete together in an additional six events. There are two classes for Paralympic shooters: SH1 pistol/rifle and SH2, which are broken down as follows:

  • SH1 identifies athletes who do not need a support for the gun.
  • SH1 pistol athletes may have upper and lower limb impairments.
  • SH2 rifle athletes need support for the gun. 

Athlete Biographies: 

Jazmin Almlie-Ryan: Three months after having her first child, Almlie-Ryan came through with the performance she needed to qualify for Rio at the 2015 IPC World Cup in Fort Benning, Georgia.  All she did there while competing in her first international match in over a year was earn two trips to the finals, earn a Paralympic quota and complete a great week with a gold medal in the R5 (Mixed 10m Air Rifle Prone SH2) event.  Since she was 18, Jazmin has battled progressive spastic myelopathy that started in her lower back, forced her into a wheelchair when she was 22, and now has progressed into her cervical spine area affecting her hands, wrist and arms. Full Almlie-Ryan bio. 

Tammy Delano: Delano shook off neck surgery, the death of her father and few other unlucky breaks just to reach this pinnacle moment.  Born with spina bifida, she was introduced to the shooting sports in 2009 through a clinic conducted by the NRA’s Disability Shooting Services.  She was an alternate for the Wheelchair Curling Team for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. Full Delano bio. 

McKenna Dahl: The 20-year-old Olympic Training Center Resident Athlete earned her Paralympic quota during the 2014 World Championships. She has three fifth-place finishes in IPC World Cup action in 2016.   At the age of 12, Dahl tried shooting for the first time at a summer camp. Originally a wheelchair basketball player, she preferred shooting because it was an individual sport. She was born with amyoplasia in her left hand and both of her feet, causing her muscles not to form properly. Full Dahl bio. 

John Joss: The true breakout year for USA Shooting’s Paralympic Program came in 2013 to begin the new quad and leading that charge was this 33-year-old Army sergeant, who competes as part of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU). After enlisting in 2004 and serving in combat in Iraq, Joss is now part of the unit’s Paralympic section, having lost a portion of his right leg as result of injuries suffered when the vehicle he was riding in was caught in an ambush in May of 2007. His leg was torn apart by one of several improvised explosive devices that were detonated by command, taking out multiple vehicles in his convoy.  He finished sixth in the Prone Rifle event during the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Smallbore. Full Joss bio. 

Mike Tagliapietra: The two-time USA Shooting Paralympic Athlete of the Year has demonstrated that he’s a medal contender in P3 (Mixed 25M Pistol SH1) after winning the quota in that event during the 2014 IPC World Championships and finishing first in the event at the IPC World Cup in Sydney in September 2015.  He was involved in car accident in August 2003 which resulted in paraplegia. Full Tagliapietra bio.

Categories: Press Releases, 2016 Paralympic Games