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How the seven Eagle Scouts fared at the 2016 Olympics

Updated Aug. 22.


Seven members of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team that competed in the Rio Olympics are Eagle Scouts, the National Eagle Scout Association has confirmed.

Before they wore red, white and blue uniforms for Team USA, these men — two swimmers, a race walker, a marathoner, a triathlete, a rower and a beach volleyball player — wore the red, white and blue Eagle Scout badge on their Scout uniforms.

They’re living proof that a young person has time for success in Scouting and in sports.

Here’s how they performed in the Olympic Games.

Casey Patterson

Casey Patterson, Beach Volleyball

To read our interview with Casey Patterson, click here.

Date of birth: April 20, 1980

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 25, 1997

HometownNewbury Park, Calif.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Results: Patterson and teammate Jake Gibb were eliminated from competition after finishing opening-round play with one win and two losses.

  • Aug. 6: Beat Qatar, 21-16, 21-16. Watch here.
  • Aug. 8: Lost to Austria, 18-21, 18-21. Watch here.
  • Aug. 10: Lost to Spain, 19-21, 21-16, 7-15. Watch here.

Ryan Held

Ryan Held, Swimming: 4×100 Freestyle Relay

To read our interview with Ryan Held, click here.

Date of birth: June 27, 1995

Eagle Scout earned: Dec. 16, 2010

HometownSpringfield, Ill.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Results: Held won gold in the 4×100 freestyle relay! Read more here.

Sean Ryan

Sean Ryan, Swimming: 10K Open Water

Date of birth: Aug. 13, 1992

Eagle Scout earned: July 19, 2010

HometownChattanooga, Tenn.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Results: Sean Ryan finished 14th with a time of 1 hour, 53 minutes, 15 seconds. See more here.

John Nunn

John Nunn, Track and Field: 50K Race Walk

To read our interview with John Nunn, click here.

Date of birth: Feb. 3, 1978

Eagle Scout earned: Aug. 12, 1992

HometownSan Diego

Olympics experience: Third Olympics (2004, 2012)

Results: Nunn finished 42nd, race walking 50 kilometers in 4 hours, 16 minutes, 12 seconds. The gold medalist finished in 3 hours, 40 minutes, 58 seconds.

Greg Billington

Greg Billington, Triathlon

To read our interview with Greg Billington, click here.

Date of birth: May 30, 1989

Eagle Scout earned: June 2, 2007

Hometown: Spokane, Wash.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Results: Billington finished 37th, with a time of 1 hour, 52 minutes, 4 seconds. He was about 7 minutes behind the gold medalist.

Jared Ward

Jared Ward, Marathon

To read our interview with Jared Ward, click here.

Date of birth: Sept. 9, 1988

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 28, 2006

Hometown: Kaysville, Utah

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Results: Ward finished 6th, with a time of 2 hours, 11 minutes, 30 seconds.

Rob Munn

Rob Munn, Eight-man Rowing

Date of birth: July 26, 1990

Eagle Scout earned: Sept. 17, 2008

Hometown: Redmond, Wash.

Olympics experience: First Olympics

Results:

  • Aug. 8: The United States men’s coxed eight finished second in its heat, losing to Germany.
  • Aug. 11: The men won the repêchage, which gives teams get a second shot at the finals! They took first place, beating the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and Italy.
  • Aug. 13: Munn and Team USA finished fourth in the finals — just out of the medals.


Thanks to NESA’s Ryan Larson for doing the research that powered this post. He gets a gold medal.

33 Comments on How the seven Eagle Scouts fared at the 2016 Olympics

  1. So next month the headline might read, “Four Eagle Scout Olympians horribly sick from literally swimming in raw sewage after Rio warns swimmers to avoid getting any water in the mouth.”

    Doctors have warned that if three teaspoons get in the mouth, a vital infection (that antibiotics will do nothing for, as they only affect bacterial infections) is almost certain to follow. Whereas a California beach is closed if there are a few thousand viruses per liter of water, the beaches tested in Rio had many millions of viruses per liter of water, and that some of the water is actually brown or black-colored from the amount of raw sewage in the water. Again, viruses, not bacteria.

    The Olympics are getting ridiculous. Documents were leaked showing the bribes that were paid to get Rio chosen. With six months of notice, the UK was happy to step in and host. With three months of notice, China was happy to step in and host. They still went Brazil. One athlete already left after military police broke into his room and demanded money to leave, for the third time. I could go on at great length about everything wrong, but I think the only thing to do is to boycott the games and not watch them. If any Americans win, great for them, but if I’m watching and cheering then my eyes are seeing the ads and the Olympic Committee are getting fat from those payments.

    We know they’re openly accepting bribes — the only thing that will change future Olympics (South Korea will be good, then Tokyo will be good, then China will probably be good, but after that who knows) will be to somehow hit them in the pocketbook. Don’t watch, don’t pay any attention until it’s over and we can congratulate the winners.

    • PhredJones // August 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm // Reply

      Normal person: “My, isn’t it a lovely sunny day”

      Bart: “Yeah, but it 10 billion years the sun will explode and kill us all”

    • lindafredrick // August 3, 2016 at 5:07 pm // Reply

      Nah, actually our Eagles will probably do much better than most. They’ve built up an immune system from all the camp bug juice 😉

  2. Bryan Blair // August 3, 2016 at 11:25 am // Reply

    Super proud of my cousin and Eagle Scout David Blair, competing for Team USA in the Paralympic Discus throw! In the last two years he’s gone from not even involved to world record holder! A great inspiration for Scouts and Scouters of all ages.
    http://www.teamusa.org/para-track-and-field/athletes/David-Blair

    • Bryan Wendell // August 3, 2016 at 11:32 am // Reply

      Too cool! Go, David!

      • lindafredrick // August 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm // Reply

        I was just wondering about paralympic Eagles, good on him!

  3. Mark Francis // August 3, 2016 at 11:30 am // Reply

    I believe that Jared Ward from Kaysville, UT is an Eagle Scout.

    http://www.teamusa.org/usa-track-and-field/athletes/Jared-Ward

    • Bryan Wendell // August 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm // Reply

      You’re right, Mark! Adding him to the list.

      • Good article Bryan. I made Eagle Scout in 1971 and can’t remember ever seeing such a positive article with sane, civilized comments since then. Yours is the first.

        • Bryan Wendell // September 3, 2016 at 8:07 pm //

          Thanks!!

  4. I wonder how many Olympians are former scouts of any rank, including other countries? I eagerly await the opening ceremonies and the interesting stories about competitors from around the world.

    • I know there were some scouts from Scotland that won gold.

  5. Ben Peterson // August 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm // Reply

    It takes a small army of staff, coaches, and scientists to make an Olympian — they do everything from guide workouts, to scientific and video analysis of an athlete’s performance, to facilitating meets and international travel….and that doesn’t even cover the nutritionists, doctors, trainers, and others who keep the athletes in tip top shape in between competitions. Many of them are Eagle Scouts, and many who are in Rio are Scouting Volunteers. I was fortunate to be part of the USA Swimming National Team staff that supported the 2000 Olympic Team, and I can confidently say my journey started at Swimming Merit Badge.

    • Bryan Wendell // August 3, 2016 at 4:41 pm // Reply

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing your story.

    • lindafredrick // August 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm // Reply

      Yea that would be interesting to find out.

  6. Wozzo the Wonder Dog // August 3, 2016 at 7:10 pm // Reply

    Surprised that archery/shooting sports doesn’t have some Eagle Scouts.

  7. Casey Donald // August 4, 2016 at 3:59 pm // Reply

    Russell Holmes on the mens indoor volleyball team is a Eagle Scout.

    • Bryan Wendell // August 4, 2016 at 4:07 pm // Reply

      Looks like you’re right, but I don’t believe he’s on the 2016 team.

      • Casey Donald // August 4, 2016 at 9:00 pm // Reply

        Sorry, US Weekly ran an article 7/16 about him, leading me to believe he had been named to the final roster.

  8. Bethany summers // August 4, 2016 at 4:24 pm // Reply

    My son just made Eagle Scout 🙂 He is a runner. Does anyone know if I could get a congratulatory letter for him from Jared Ward and/or Greg Billington? How could I contact them? Thanks!

    • Email communications@usoc.org or call the main number at (719)632-5551

    • Another option might be to go directly thru their social media accounts. For Jared Ward, try contacting Saucony (the running shoe he runs for,) or BYU where he teaches (stats.) For Greg, try reaching out to USA Triathlon.

      • Bryan Wendell // August 9, 2016 at 12:24 pm // Reply

        I have interviewed Jared and will post that story next week!

  9. Tina Holler // August 5, 2016 at 9:44 am // Reply

    I am wondering if any of the women athletes earned the girl scout Gold award which is equivalent to the Eagle award?

  10. There could be Eagle Scouts competing for other countries. It’s quite common to not make the US team and then compete for your ancestral home.

  11. I believe Paralympic athlete Matt Simpson is a Georgia Eagle Scout.

  12. This is a refreshing article at a time when the misdeeds of other athletes (as well as the IOC) are grabbing the headlines.

  13. William Ferguson // August 22, 2016 at 10:13 am // Reply

    1) I wonder if any of the U.S. Olympic swimmers involved in the “robbery” scandal were Scouts at any time in their young lives? Probably not. (If so, they didn’t absorb the ideals of the Oath and Law.) Lochte, Feigen, Bentz, and Conger are not on the list above of U.S. Olympic Eagles. Too bad they didn’t get the character development that Scouting offers.

    2) Using the dates of birth and Eagle awards in the blog, three U.S. Olympians were awarded their Eagle rank after their 18th birthday (meaning that all requirements and paperwork had been completed and submitted before they turned 18); one was almost 18; one was 17 and a half; one was 15 and a half; and one was 14 and a half. Interesting range of ages! (Especially the two younger Eagles, who, by definition of some adults, would have been “too young” to deserve the Eagle rank.)

  14. Merrill Moses is also an Eagle Scout: http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2012/08/01/how-scouting-helped-this-team-usa-water-polo-goalie-in-his-quest-for-gold/

  15. Thank you, William Ferguson, for making the point that there are real benefits to character development through Scouting. Beside the benefit to communities of youth raised with the Scout Oath and Law, it could be a recruiting point for parents looking to provide well-rounded experiences for their sons.

    As for bias against “young” Eagle Scout candidates, I’m glad I belonged to a Troop in the ’60s (Troop 77 of Westfield, NJ) whose leaders didn’t show — or act on — any bias against a “young” Eagle Scout candidate. I was aware of arbitrary, unwritten age rules at other Troops in town. On the contrary, an attitude of “What are you waiting for?” prevailed in 77. During my seven years, a number of us in the Troop were Eagle by the age of fifteen, one or two of us before fourteen. If my Scoutmaster had thought I wasn’t ready to become Eagle (e.g., because I wasn’t living the Scout Oath and Law in my daily life, or if I didn’t have life goals), I’m confident he would have made clear in my Scoutmaster’s Conferences what he expected of me, and well before my Eagle Scoutmaster’s Conference. Today, as a Scoutmaster myself, I try to apply those same standards to Conferences for Scouts as they advance toward Eagle.

  16. I’m a Special Olympian and earned my Eagle when I was in scouts. Got 2 Golds at the 2014 Special Olympics National Games in Cycling! Super Proud of all these Olympians & fellow Eagles for getting so far in their sports and placing as high as they did. It’s cool to know that I’m not only sharing the Eagle values, but the Olympic values with them too!

  17. This is not Sports or Eagle Scout oriented. Here in Las Vegas, We have a Scouting Museum. Being a Vet and OA Chapter adviser I took my Chapter to it. The Fellow who is Curator is also a former Scout and Vigil OA member. There is a bronze replica of a WWII solder who was wounded in the leg and loosing Blood Rapidly. He could hear an enemy Japanese solder coming to kill him. As he passed out from pain and loss of blood he made the Scout Sign across his chest with his right hand. The enemy Soldier with Bayonet drawn ready to kill the enemy, Saw that and having been a Scout himself Stopped and yielded First Aid and left. the USA Soldier alive and well as can be. I am a Vietnam Vet and belong to V.V. A Post 1076 in Henderson NV.

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