December 15th, 2011

Special Forces Vet Earns Quota for 2012 Paralympic Games

U.S. Army Ranger and Special Forces veteran Eric Hollen utilized shooting as a tool for recovery after an injury that broke his back. Hollen is now the top-ranked Air Pistol and number two Free Pistol athlete in the world and has set a goal for himself: the Gold Medal at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

Eric Hollen, a former U.S. Army Ranger, has been named the 2011 USA Shooting Paralympic Athlete of the Year. In addition, Hollen has secured a quota for the 2012 Olympics based on his performance 2011 International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup in Sydney, Australia. The quota that Hollen won down-under earns him a nomination to the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team (pending approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee). Barring something unforseen, this means that Hollen should compete for the United States at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.

Hollen Wins Silver and Bronze in Sydney
“Eric is an Army Special Forces veteran who has taken advantage of the unique opportunities available as an Olympic Training Center (OTC) Resident Athlete,” said Coach Bob Foth. At the IPC World Cup Sydney Hollen won a bronze medal in P4 Mixed 50m Free Pistol. Then, in the P1 Men’s 10m Air Pistol even, Hollen fired 98.1 points to secure the silver medal. The historic part, however, came from the 2012 Paralympic quota that Hollen won along with the medal. This is the first-ever Paralympic quota won by an American shooter under the IPC’s new quota distribution system. An elated Hollen said, “I am so thankful to be part of such an amazing program and to the people who have helped me reach the next step to my ultimate goal — Coach Bob Foth, Coach Ray Arredondo, Sean McCann, Dave Johnson, Sergey Luzov and many more.”

Hollen Achieves New Goals After Loosing Use of His Legs
Eric Hollen served in the U.S. Army for nine years, first with the 2/75 Rangers in Fort Lewis, WA, and then with the 10th Special Forces Group out of Fort Carson, CO. After leaving the Army, while farming in Tennessee in 2001, a tractor overturned on him, breaking his back. Despite that devastating injury, Hollen has gained a new lease on life. He enrolled in East Tennessee State University, earning his bachelor’s degree in April of 2010. He was awarded USA Shooting’s Paralympic Athlete of the Year honor after a terrific 2010 season. Hollen strives to help newly injured veterans reach their goals despite their disabilities. He advises junior shooters to: “Do the hard things — the hold drills and dry-fire drills that are not much fun — and you will find success.”

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