POSTED: Friday July 20th 2012

Modern Pentathlon: Persistence the key for Bowsher

Bowsher improved alot to make London
Bowsher improved alot to make London

A strong performance at the Pan American Games was key to qualification
A strong performance at the Pan American Games was key to qualification

How will the American do in London?
How will the American do in London?

Four years ago, Dennis Bowsher went through the worst moment of his career when he was cut from Team USA and missed the Beijing Olympic Games.

He was one of the three Americans who qualified but, in the end, team-mates Sam Sacksen and Eli Bremmer were chosen to represent his home country.

Training with Bremmer in the summer of 2008 gave Bowsher the strength to pursue his dream for another four years.

Last October, after finishing 4th at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, he claimed a spot for London and was once again part of the Olympic team.

“Training with Eli at the time gave me something to work for. By seeing his improvement in practices and seeing my improvement just by training with him, I thought that I still had a little bit more left. So I thought I would try again and go for 2012,” he said.

The four-time US national champion has been doing modern pentathlon for almost 10 years.

It all started in 2003 in Dallas, Texas, when he received a recruitment flyer at high school.

Bowsher was a swimmer but had never ridden a horse or held a gun before.

“I went to San Antonio, which is close to Dallas, they thought that I had some potential. After a couple of months they offered me an apartment, so I was able to move to there and start full-time,” he said.

His hard work paid off as, only seven months later, Bowsher became junior national champion.

At the same time, he was seeing his chances of making the Olympic swimming team getting slim.

“I reached a point in my swimming career where I knew I wasn’t going to make the Olympics, just because of the times I was doing,” he said.

“There were people who were younger than me who were beating me - and that was just in the city of Dallas.

“I started to realise that the Olympic dream in swimming wasn’t going to happen. Pentathlon opened up a different path.”

Although Bowsher considered easy to learn the other four disciplines, he admits riding has always been his weakness.

In 2006, during a competition in Lithuania, he was unconscious after falling from a horse and hitting his head on the ground.

“You are put in a giant animal and there is that little bit of fear and nervousness, you always wonder how is it going to be like when you fall off, but I got used to it,” he said.

The 29-year-old US Army specialist lives at the Olympic Complex in Colorado Springs and only sees his relatives around four times a year.

The Olympics will be special for Bowsher’s family as well, as his father John, his sister Devon and his niece will be in London to support him.

“My sister has never seen me compete; my dad has only seen me in domestic competitions so it will be a good experience for both of them to see not only an international competition but also the biggest international competition,” he said.

Bowsher admits to be more focused on improving his individual results than in claiming a medal.

After the Olympics, he plans to compete until Rio 2016 and become a swimming coach.

“I have been pretty much injury-free and had no serious setbacks during my career, so I think the next four years will be the same, I will just continue to look to improve,” he said.

“But who knows how my body is going to feel in four years? It’s a very demanding sport but, as long as you are able to stay healthy, you can definitely do it for a long period of time and do well until your mid-thirties.

“I will be 33 in 2016 so I just have to see how my body feels like then.”

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Keywords · Modern Pentathlon · London 2012 · Pentathlon · Pentathlete · Olympics · Olympic Games · London · UIPM · IOC · Coubertin · Run · Shoot · Swim · Ride · Fence · Great Britain · gold · champion · USA · Bowsher · Dennis · Army

Name: Matt Pound
Organization: Union Internationale De Pentathlon Moderne - UIPM
Phone: +377 9777 8555

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