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Football injury, 'second family' lead to Olympic aspirations for rising American shooter Jared Desrosiers

June 17, 2017 Updated: June 17, 2017 at 8:23 pm
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Olympic Training Center junior shooting club athlete Jared Desrosiers competes during April's Junior Olympics competition in Colorado Springs.

An injury and a "second family" helped Massachusetts native Jared Desrosiers emerge as one of the nation's best young shooters.

Desrosiers suffered a back injury while playing high school football as a freshman and the now-20-year-old was told he needed to stop competing in contact sports.

Soon after, he shot his first rifle at a range near his hometown and he realized he could compete without physical limitations. He took to the sport and was befriended by Bob and Amber Andreozzi, whose daughter Ruby Gomes is also a competitive shooter.

"They're both retired so they were able to drive me to Georgia and around at all times of the year because I could not do that with my family," Desrosiers said. "They moved out here (to Colorado Springs) and once they did that, they offered to have me live with them."

"If it wasn't for them I would not have had the opportunity," he added. "They are kind of my second family."

Desrosiers' Olympic aspirations will be boosted when he makes his junior world championships debut in Suhl, Germany on Saturday.

It was while traveling with the Andreozzis as a teenager that Desrosiers became a favorite to win in smallbore three position, smallbore prone and air rifle -- the three events he qualified for in Germany -- at local and regional competitions. The time was right to train at a national level.

That realization helped him and his parents, Andre and Janet, decide he should join the junior club at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center range.

It forced Desrosiers to practice hard everyday -- 5-7 hours a day, seven days a week -- to remain one of the nation's best.

Shooting may lead to an Army career. His father is a Navy veteran so serving in the military always held his interest.

Desrosiers hopes to train for Team USA as part of the Amy's Marksmanship Unit (competitive shooting team).

"I always wanted to go military and it was my goal for as long as I can remember," he said. "I figured it was the best of both worlds. That was when the bug bit when I realized how shooting could fit in with (a) military (career)."

He hopes to become an OTC resident athlete when his second family moves overseas this summer.

"One of my coaches said I was a big fish in a small pond (in Massachusetts)," he said. "Now I am a very small fish in a massive pond and that is good for me. My outlook on it is that you want to surround yourself with who you want to be. Everyone is always getting better. It motivates me to keep practicing. I am striving to be an Olympian and this is where I need to be."

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