Sports Heroes Who Served: Olympic Gold Medal Winner and Soldier

David Vergun

Sports Heroes Who Served is a series that highlights the accomplishments of athletes who served in the U.S. military.

Army 1st Lt. Amber English is an American sport shooter who competed in the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, setting a new Olympic record of hitting 56 of 60 targets and becoming the second woman in American history to ever win an Olympic skeet shooting gold medal. She contended for a spot on both the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Teams but did not qualify for either. This motivated her to join the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit in Fort Benning, Georgia, in February 2017.

In 2018, she was part of a U.S. sweep at the World Championships, where she earned a bronze medal. In total, she now has four world cup medals won in 2010, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

“I was very fortunate to put everything together at the right time,” she said, speaking of her gold medal win. “I trained very hard. The shooters that adapt faster are the ones who get better results. All I could control was my own shooting and emotions. It is always down to the last wire.”

English began shooting at the age of 6 and is a member of a distinguished shooting family. Her father and uncle were U.S. Running Target National Team members and resident Olympic Training Center athletes, while her mother and aunt were members of one of America’s top collegiate rifle programs at the University of Kentucky.

As a result, both hunting and shooting have been recreational activities for the entire English family.

She began competitive shooting in 2006 at age 17, competing in women’s skeet shooting matches. After progressing up the ranks of international skeet shooting, English moved to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to become a full-time resident athlete in 2013, where she competed in various domestic, international and world cup matches.

Besides shooting, the 32-year-old Colorado Springs-native has worked as a paramedic in various locations in her home state. When she isn’t training for sport shooting, she enjoys hiking, fishing and hunting in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains.