Modern pentathlete Nathan Schrimsher became the first athlete to qualify for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team by finishing third at the Pan American Games in Toronto on Sunday.
“I don’t have words yet, it’s not going to sink in for a while,” Schrimsher said, according to TeamUSA.org. “It’s been a rough year, lots of things happened and I’m just emotional now. It hasn’t hit me yet, but I think it will here soon.”
Schrimsher, 23, made his first Olympic team. He is ranked No. 59 in the world, finished 13th at the 2010 Youth Olympics and is part of the US Army’s World Class Athlete Program.
No U.S. man has won an individual modern pentathlon Olympic medal since 1960. The last U.S. woman to make the Olympic podium was in 2000.
On Sunday, Schrimsher finished in Olympic qualifying position (top three overall not already qualified, no more than one per country) thanks in large part to having the fastest time in the 200m freestyle swim (2:00.59). The other three modern pentathlon events are fencing, equestrian and a combined running/shooting event.
A nation may qualify a maximum of two athletes per gender for the Olympic modern pentathlon.
The 2012 U.S. Olympic team included more than 500 athletes, so this is just the start of the roster building.