Commentary: Army Olympic connections
February 19, 2014
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Feb. 19, 2014) -- No matter where you look, Army connections are coming out in this year's Winter Olympics.
Just a few of the stories are in this week's Bayonet and Saber, but there are many behind the scenes stories out there.
Those stories speak volumes of the Army's Soldier athletes, and of the Army itself.
Whether it's an Army brat, Program Soldier or coach, the Army presence has been felt.
Growing up an Army brat is an experience in itself -- I know, I was one.
Discipline, perseverance, setting goals, hard work, teamwork, resilience and a vast array of other personal qualities and winning traits filtered down from my father, as I am sure it has for many other successful Army brats like Olympic bronze medalist Ashley Wagner.
For luge competitors Utah National Guardsman Sgt. Preston Griffall, a two-time Olympian, and New York Army National Guardsman Sgt. Matt Mortensen, both said it was the mental, physical and communication skills they learned in the Army and the resilience that will help them recover from a disappointing 14th place finish Feb. 12.
Finally -- although the games are ongoing -- Sgt. First Class Tuffy Latour has coached and lent his experience to both U.S. and Canadian skeleton teams to six medals.
Many who are used to snow and ice have probably experienced a similar event in their childhood.
It is a winter sport in which a person rides a small sled down a frozen track while lying face down. Sound familiar?
Many skeleton competitors have commented on Latour's guidance and warrior ethos that has had a positive effect on them.
All the behind the scenes stories are there, and behind those stories is a testament to what the Army has brought to the lives of the athletes involved.