U.S. Army First Lt. Amber English took home the gold medal in the women’s individual shotgun skeet event during the first week of the Tokyo Olympics but she says her journey to the podium was a team effort.
English, 31, said in an interview on “Fox & Friends” on Friday that after the sudden passing of her father in 2016, she was encouraged not to give up by fellow American shooter Vincent Hancock, who just took home his third gold medal.
“It was a very tough battle, to be honest,” English said.
“It took a little bit for me to get back on the range and Vincent Hancock, who just won a third gold, was kind of the reason — he was in Colorado Springs, he said, ‘I believe in you. Come out here, we’re going to shoot.’ We cried after station one and I kept shooting.”
The goal was simple: “Don’t quit and believe in yourself and keep going.”
The Colorado Springs native set an Olympic record after shooting 56 of 60 in the women’s skeet final to defeat Italy’s Diana Bacosi, earning her first gold medal.
Amber English of the United States celebrates with her gold medal in the women’s skeet at the Asaka Shooting Range in the 2020 Summer Olympics, Monday, July 26, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
“It was just a very crazy experience,” English said. “I am so glad that after years of hard work we were able to put it together, and although this is an individual sport, it really takes a team behind everybody to be successful, so I’m very, very humbled by this experience.”
English said she was able to achieve success with the support of the Army.
“I fought it for a very long time,” she said of her decision to join the Army. “I was already training and competing with members of the AMU, and so after I lost my dad, I said, you know, I need to do something different. And I was like, better late than never. And here we are.”
English comes from a long family history of shooters.
According to USA Shooting, her father and uncle were U.S. Running Target National Team members and Olympic Training Center resident athletes, while her mother and aunt were members of one of the University of Kentucky’s rifle programs.
English says she doesn’t intend to display her medal but will instead carry it around in her gun case as she travels.