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All in the family

Military spouse, daughters take home medals; Army wrestlers fall

Aug. 16, 2012 - 06:43PM   |   Last Updated: Aug. 16, 2012 - 06:43PM  |  
Janay Deloach celebrates winning bronze in the women's long jump at Olympic Stadium in London on Aug. 8.
Janay Deloach celebrates winning bronze in the women's long jump at Olympic Stadium in London on Aug. 8. (David J. Phillip / The Associated Press)
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An Army wife and two Air Force daughters have managed to outscore an entire contingent of military athletes in the medal count at the Summer Games in London.

Janay DeLoach landed a bronze medal in the women's long jump Aug. 8. She's the daughter of retired Air Force Chief Master Sgt. William DeLoach and wife Dede. Both parents work as civilians at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., where Janay bagged groceries at the commissary before heading off to college, says base spokesman John Haire.

That, of course, comes on the heels of the two gold-medal wins that catapulted another Air Force daughter into the spotlight of sport's biggest stage. Gabby Douglas, daughter of Staff Sgt. Timothy Douglas and Natalie Hawkins, has become the nation's sweetheart after her performance both in the women's gymnastics events and her individual all-around win.

Meanwhile, Jamie Gray, the wife of Army Staff Sgt. Henry Gray, nailed the gold in the women's 50-meter rifle three-position event at the Royal Artillery Barracks on Aug. 4 while securing two Olympic records in the process. Army Marksmanship Unit shooter Sgt. Vincent Hancock successfully defended his gold medal from the 2008 Games in skeet shooting, among the first U.S. athletes to earn gold this year and the only military athlete to claim a medal-winning victory at the Summer Games.

Results from the second week of competition: In the men's 50-meter rifle three-position, Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Parker left with a disappointing 30th-place finish in what was his fourth and likely last Olympic appearance. The Army's three-man fire team of Greco-Roman wrestlers, all considered serious contenders to medal, also fell short.

Sgt. 1st Class Dremiel Byers, the seventh-place finisher at the 2008 Games in Beijing, fell to world champion Riza Kayaalp of Turkey in the 264.5-pound quarterfinals.

"I really don't know what to say," Byers said. "It hurts. It didn't work out the way that I needed it to. Tried to leave it out there, but I came up short."

Sgt. Spenser Mango, competing in the 121-pound weight class, won his first bout against Abouhalima Abouhalima of Egypt but lost his match against Rovshan Bayramov of Azerbaijan. Bayramov ended up taking silver, giving Mango an opening for the bronze, but that bid fell short when Mango lost to Mingiyan Semenov of Russia.

"I don't think [you've seen] the last of Spenser," said U.S. coach Steve Fraser. "He still has a lot of great potential."

Spc. Justin Lester, competing in the 145.5-pound weight class, also had a shot at the bronze. His medal dreams ended when he was defeated by Germany's Frank Staebler. Remaining military medal hopes were pinned on two soldiers who would compete during the last two days of the London Games: 50-kilometer race walker Staff Sgt. John Nunn; and modern pentathlete Spc. Dennis Bowsher, 100 years after another soldier helped introduce the five-sport competition to the Summer Games.

Then-Capt. George Patton, who would go on to some acclaim later in his career, came in fifth in Stockholm in 1912.

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