The Marine Corps Sports Program interviews First Lieutenant (1stLt) Riley Compton, who has recently been training and competing with the USA Bobsled Team. She has her sights set on the 2026 Winter Olympic Games in Milano Cortina, Italy.
All-Marine Sports: Can you describe your Marine Corps background? Why did you join the Corps? What is your MOS and where are you stationed now?
1stLt Riley Compton: “Growing up I never thought about joining the military. I do not come from a military family; however, my family is very patriotic. I went to college at George Washington University on a softball scholarship with the hopes of working for the government in the FBI or CIA. My freshman year, in 2016, I met a Marine Corps recruiter from a mass email they sent to all the athletes. I was immediately bought into the culture and atmosphere of the Corps and went to OCS as a part of the PLC program. I joined because I felt the Lord call me to the Marine Corps, I wanted to join the most elite military group and I wanted to show that females have a place in the Marine Corps. Now, I am the S-4 Officer at MALS-39 in Camp Pendleton as a Logistics Officer, along with my husband who is an Infantry Officer.”
AMS: How did you get into the sport of bobsled?
RC: “When I was playing softball at George Washington University, we had one jersey retired in our stadium. That jersey belonged to Elana Meyers Taylor who is one of the best Bobsled Athletes in the world. She played softball at GWU as well. When she won the silver medal in 2018, she came to GWU to talk to our team. I remember listening to hear and getting butterflies in my stomach hearing more about Bobsled. I had always watched it on the Olympics, but hearing about her experience intrigued my interest even more in the sport and made me want to try it.”
AMS: You just came back from the USA Bobsled Push Championship. What was that like and how did it go?
RC: “USA Bobsled Push Championship was an amazing experience. Reign Body Fuel is doing a documentary over Bobsled and was there filming. Fans were allowed to be in attendance and we had the Ice House filled with our sponsors. The atmosphere felt like a true Bobsled race and it was an honor to compete. I ended up taking fourth place among the female pilots and I am very excited to go back in September to keep training.”
AMS: What is next on the schedule for you?
RC: “The Bobsled season is fast approaching. Next, I will be going back to Lake Placid, NY to continue my push training. We are holding USA Combination Push Championships where I will compete, with a brakeman, against the other female sleds. Following that, I will come back in October to both Utah and New York (the only two ice tracks in the United States) to start driving again and get ready for the first race in November. I will be competing in the North American Cup which has races in Canada, Utah and New York in November and December. Following that I will go to Innsbruck, Austria and compete in Junior World Championships in January. I am very excited for what this year holds and to travel internationally since COVID.”
AMS: What does it mean to you to be a Marine and represent Team USA in international competition?
RC: “I am unable to describe in words the pride and honor I feel to represent Team USA and the Marine Corps. Our country, the American flag, and what it represents are so near and dear to my heart. I love the USA and to represent it by wearing two different uniforms to reflect that is the biggest blessing I could ever ask for. I want the world to see that our military is comprised of amazing members that are gifted and for the Marines to see that you can have a career and be in professional sports. I want to inspire Marines to pursue their dreams and create an avenue for athletics.”
AMS: How can people follow your journey?
RC: “You all can follow me on Instagram, @ri.compton, or follow at USABS for all the details for Bobsled. I continuously post links for people to watch online for competitions as well! I really appreciate all the support and am trying to get the message across that being a Christian Athlete by glorifying God and taking pride in the American Flag and the USA is what makes me a successful athlete.”
AMS: Best of luck to you going forward, Lt. Compton!
On September 11, 2021, First Lieutenant (1stLt) Stephanie Murphy proved herself to be the fastest female triathlete in the Armed Services when she claimed the gold medal at the Armed Forces Triathlon Championship, held on Naval Base Ventura County, CA.
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