Tom ShephardYes We're Optimistic

Hello everyone;

I have recently returned from a couple of trips that should provide us all with additional reasons to be optimistic about the direction of our Program. The first was to Mexico City where I witnessed firsthand our athletes competing at the Senior World Championships. We were very excited to see three of our athletes make the finals. This is a first in recent memory for USA Pentathlon Multisport. I want to congratulate Brendan Anderson on a superb performance in his first Sr World championship appearance. He got off to a fast start by fencing extremely well and performed very well through the entire competition. 

 

Brandon was able to take 14th against a stellar field and has established himself as one of our top male pentathletes and certainly an athlete to be in consideration for Tokyo. Samantha Achterberg and Amro El Gizery both had outstanding semi final performances with Sammy posting her best senior fencing score at a World Championships to date. Unfortunately for Samantha her horse slipped and fell therefore she did not receive points in the ride, but to her credit, she stayed in the competition and  finished with a laudable effort in the Laser run shoot. Samantha will be back chasing medals in the upcoming season. In the finals, Amro was in first place going into the Laser Run, but unfortunately struggled in his final series. Amro has long been established as one of the top pentathletes in the world and we look forward to seeing him also chasing medals in the upcoming season.

 

I was also proud of our younger athletes, Naomi Ross and Seamus Millett for their performances at the world championships- they are absolutely up-and-comers!

ImportantIy, I want to complement our coaching staff on readying our athletes for the world championships and their total dedication to these athletes.

 

The second leg of my journey was to Colorado Springs for the Olympic assembly, where I was joined by Rob, Kevin and Dan. I think you’re all familiar with the challenges facing all of the 50 federations regarding ensuring the health and safety of our athletes. The Olympic assembly certainly focused on the need to put every measure in place to safeguard our athletes and at USAPM that is an absolute priority for us. The assembly was positive in the number of aspects. First and foremost, there is new leadership at the United States Olympic Committee. The new chairman, Suzanne Lyons is a strong, honest, reliable communicator who is truly vested in the Olympic movement and knows us at USA Pentathlon Multisport. The new CEO Sarah Hirschfield also brings an intense level of commitment to be transparent and work to make the USOC an ‘athlete first’ environment.

 

The assembly went a long way to begin the process of increasing the frequency of communications between the athletes, their governing bodies and the United States Olympic committee. We are collectively turning our attention to readiness for Tokyo and doing all we can to provide the support and recognition for athletes to have great performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

 

I am proud of our staff and the progress that we continue to make as an organization in terms of our administration and our ever increasing emphasis on expanding our development and recruiting pipeline.

 

So, reason for optimism…heck yes!


Tom Shepard

Chairman, USA Pentathlon