U.S. Servicemembers at the 1984 Olympic Games

As the 2024 Summer Olympics approaches, we’re having an #ArchivesHashtagParty: #ArchivesGoForGold! Join us on Friday, July 12, 2024, to celebrate all achievers, from Olympic champions to unsung heroes. Use #ArchivesGoForGold and tag @USNatArchives on Instagram and X.

The 2024 Summer Olympics is taking place from July 26 to August 11, 2024, in Paris, France. Today’s post looks back on our men and women from the Armed Forces who were Olympic medalists during the 1984 Olympic Games held in Los Angeles.

Members of the U.S. military have participated in the Olympics since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, with several servicemembers competing in the Games this summer. In 1984 the United States hosted the Olympic Games in Los Angeles, which took place July 28–August 12. It was the XXIII Olympiad of the modern era, and the U.S. military was well represented.

Ruby E. Fox

Army Specialist 5 Ruby E. Fox won a silver medal in the women’s 25 metre pistol competition at the 1984 Summer Olympics. She also competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics, where she placed 26th in the 25 metre pistol competition and tied for 22nd place in the 10 metre air pistol competition. Fox served over 28 years in the U.S. Army Reserves, retiring in 2003.

Alonzo C. Babers 

Second Lieutenant Alonzo C. Babers won two gold medals at the 1984 Summer Olympics, in the 400 m and the 4 × 400 m relay. He was a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, and after his dual-gold medals in 1984, he became an active duty officer in the United States Air Force.

Matt Dryke

Army Staff Sergeant Matt Dryke won a gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics in skeet shooting with a score of 198. Dryke joined the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit when he was 18 years old. He qualified for the 1980 Olympics but didn’t participate because of the U.S. boycott of the Games held in Moscow, Russia. Dryke also participated on Team USA in the 1988 and 1992 Summer Olympics.

Greg Gibson

Marine Corps Sergeant Greg Gibson won a silver medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. That silver medal, in addition to the two silver and a bronze medal in freestyle wrestling at the World Championships from 1981 to 1983, made him the only American to win World medals in three styles of wrestling—Freestyle, Greco-Roman, and Sambo. Gibson joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1978 and retired as a master sergeant in 2003.

Ed Etzel

Army Reserve Captain Ed Etzel won the gold medal in the men’s 50m free rifle prone event at 1984 Summer Olympics, tying a then-Olympic record with a near-perfect 599 score. He was an Army officer with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit from 1974 to 1976. While in the Army Reserves, Etzel also won gold medals at the 1978 World Championships and 1979 Pan American Games.

Wanda Jewell

Army Reserve Captain Wanda Jewell won a bronze medal in the women’s standard small-bore rifle (three positions at 50 metres). She also participated on Team USA during the 1988 Summer Olympics, tying for 13th place in women’s standard small-bore rifle. Jewell was attending Eastern Washington State University when she became involved in ROTC (Reserve Officers Training Corp). She became an active duty soldier and was later assigned to the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.

Dean W. Glenesk

Army Specialist 5 Dean W. Glenesk won a silver medal for his performance in the modern pentathlon at the 1984 Summer Olympics. The competition included swimming, running, shooting, fencing, and riding. Glenesk also qualified for the 1980 U.S. team but didn’t compete due to the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics.

Ludwig “Lou” Banach

Army Second Lieutenant Ludwig “Lou” Banach received the gold medal in freestyle wrestling in the 220-pound-weight (light heavyweight) class at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games. His fraternal twin brother, Ed Banach, also won a gold medal in freestyle wrestling, making them the first twin brothers to win gold medals at the same Olympics in wrestling. During his military service, Lou also served as assistant coach in wrestling at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Daniel Carlisle

Army Staff Sergeant Daniel Carlisle received a bronze medal in the trap shooting event at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He also participated in the 1988 Summer Olympics, placing ninth in the trap competition and fourth in the skeet competition.

Donald Durbin

Lieutenant Colonel Donald Durbin of the U.S. Air National Guard won a bronze medal in small-bore rifle at the 1984 Summer Olympics. He was 47 years old when he participated in his first and only Olympic Games.

Congratulations to these and all our Olympic athletes, past and present. And good luck to all members of Team USA during the 2024 Summer Olympic Games! For more information on National Archives holdings related to the Summer Olympics, visit our special topics page.

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