Spc. Sagen Maddalena, a Soldier in the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, earned 5th place in women’s 50 meter three position rifle during her first ever Olympic performance July 31, at the 2020 Summer Games, Tokyo, Japan.
With a score of 1,178 — the maximum being 1,200 — Maddalena placed 2nd in the qualification round, earning herself a spot in the finals.
“My mindset throughout the competition was to be in the moment,” said Maddalena. “I stuck to the fundamentals. I knew if I was able to do that, I could stay in the moment and not allow for distraction to get in the way.”
The Groveland, California, native was the only American to make it to the final round, where she shot 427.8.
“It was thrilling and exciting,” said Maddalena. “To be here and partake in an event that brings the whole world together is a special opportunity.”
Maddalena become a Soldier in 2019, and with her proven marksmanship skills, received a direct assignment to the Army Marksmanship Unit at Fort Benning, Georgia.
“I wanted to do something bigger than myself, to do something that’s not just for my own satisfaction,” said Maddalena. “It has brought a better balance to my life, I’m not just a marksman.”
Maddalena trains and competes with fellow service members. Several other USAMU Soldiers competed in the Summer Olympic Games.
“We are all experiencing this together,” said Maddalena. “It helped me to know I have teammates here that I have trained with. I am glad they are all here.”
After her competition, a Japanese military member came up to Maddalena to talk.
“She saw Sgt. Patrick Sunderman, Sgt. Phillip Jungman and I stand at attention when another country’s national anthem started playing,” said Maddalena. “It was a special moment to be able to respect other countries. We know all of the hard work everyone has put in to be here.”
In 50 meter three position rifle, competitors shoot in three stances, kneeling, prone, and standing. In the qualification round, each athlete shoots three rounds of 40 shots in each position. The highest one shot can earn is 10.9 points.
During the finals round, 15 shots are allowed in each position. Once competitors have shot 10 single rounds in the standing position, they are eliminated one-by-one based on the lowest score, one shot at a time.
Maddalena will continue to train for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games where she hopes to compete in 3 position rifle and air gun.
Along with Maddalena, the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit had the following Soldiers compete at the 2020 Summer Olympic Games: Spc. Alison Weisz, Sgt. Phillip Jungman, 1st Lt. Amber English, and Sgt. Patrick Sunderman.