By Tim Hipps
U.S. Army Installation Management Command
RIO DE JANEIRO, July 24, 2011 – U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program Spc. Dennis Bowsher finished fourth in the men’s modern pentathlon July 22 at the 5th CISM Military World Games here.
Korea’s Jinhee Kim won the gold medal with 5,776 points, followed by silver medalist Auro Franceschini (5,776) of Italy and bronze medalist Emanuel Zapata (5,752) of Argentina.
Bowsher barely missed a podium spot with 5,740 modern pentathlon points in the five-sports-in-one-day event that features fencing, swimming, horse show jumping, pistol shooting and cross-country running.
“Knowing this field, we figured top 10 would be a good day and a great day would be top three, so I just missed it,” said Bowsher, 28, of Fort Carson, Colo. “It was kind of like the upper end of performance.”
Air Force Maj. Eli Bremer, a 2008 Olympian in Beijing, finished 13th for Team USA with 5,592 modern pentathlon points.
Bowsher started strong in epee one-touch fencing and quickly recovered from a slump midway through the session to finish with 19 victories and 14 defeats for seventh place and 888 modern pentathlon points.
“Dennis had what I call the holy reign of terror in epee,” Bremer said. “He killed everybody the first half. Then we had a couple strips in the second half where he didn’t do so hot, but overall it was one of the best fences I’ve ever seen him have. He’s got the technique, so it’s good to see him energetic in fencing at his capacity.
“Maybe this will help him step up at nationals and world championships in the next two months. He’s got everything it takes to not only make the finals at the world championships but be a top-10 athlete there if he puts it all together.”
In swimming, Bowsher was fifth-fastest in the 200-meter freestyle with a season’s best time of 2 minutes, 5.01 seconds. He tallied 1,300 points and left the pool in fourth place overall.
“I felt really good in the water,” Bowsher said. “I was only .4 or .5 off my personal best.”
Bowsher rode Impacto magnificently but knocked down three rails and finished 17th in the show jumping event, leaving him clinging to fourth place going into the final event – a 3,000-meter run combined with pistol shooting.
“He was a little crazy in the warm-up ring, but he kind of slowed down a little bit in the actual competition, which is good,” Bowsher said in reference to his horse. “He was a good horse, a good jumper.”
Bowsher was eighth-fastest in the combined event with a time of 10:44.74 and maintained fourth place overall.
“I had a couple misses on each shooting series, so that’s something to clean up in the future, but it was still a good race,” Bowsher said. “I’m happy.
Army Lt. Col. Jim Gregory, a former WCAP modern pentathlete who served as President of the CISM Sports Committee President in Rio de Janeiro, was impressed by Bowsher’s performance.
“Dennis had a great fence this morning,” said Gregory, 40, a two-time Olympic alternate who now serves as a press officer at the Pentagon. “He really came out strong. I knew he was a strong swimmer and would move up on the swim. Then he had a very challenging horse. He really had to use his legs to make him jump and he did a great job.”
Bremer struggled with his shooting on the second lap of the combined event.
“If you’re off by a little bit, it will kill you,” said Bremer, 33, of Robbins Air Force Base, Ga. “I was just off, and it took me like 12 shots to knock down the five targets – just took too long.
“I don’t think with a good shoot I would have been in the medal round today, but it probably cost me five or six spots – just that one shoot.”
All in all, Bremer said he felt good about his performance, as did Gregory, who assisted the Team USA modern pentathletes in Brazil.
“I couldn’t be happier with their day,” Gregory said. “Both of them really excelled this year and it’s been a big improvement over last year. They’re both positioned to potentially make the Olympic team and that’s really what it’s all about in the World Class Athlete Program.”