Soldier athletes compete for Olympics
February 2, 2012
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FORT CARSON, Colo. (Feb. 2, 2012) -- From the outside, building 1662 looks like any other building on Fort Carson. But on the inside, it's part company headquarters and part Olympic training facility.
The building is home to the World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, which provides outstanding Soldier athletes from all Army components the support and training to compete and succeed in national and international competitions leading to Olympic and Paralympic Games, while maintaining a professional military career.
Since WCAP's inception in 1997, 40 Soldier athletes have participated in the Summer and Winter Olympic Games winning gold, silver and bronze medals.
With the road to the 2012 Summer Olympics already being paved, several of WCAP's athletes are vying for spots on the team.
"The road to the Olympics as a Soldier is not an easy one. They have to be the best of the best and able to compete and win on a national level," said Capt. Jonathan Harmeling, WCAP commander.
"To get to WCAP is extremely hard and our entry standards are very tough," said Harmeling.
A complete list of eligibility and application procedures can be found on the WCAP website at http://www.thearmywcap.com.
"I would recommend that any Soldier looking to join the WCAP join the All-Army Sports Program through the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation. That's where they can fine-tune their skills to be able to achieve the high level that it takes to get into the program," said Pvt. Julio Saunders, a WCAP taekwondo team member.
There are currently 12 coaches and 53 athletes participating in a wide array of sports such as bobsled, fencing, modern pentathlon, shooting and many more sports associated with both the Winter and Summer Olympic games.
WCAP also has a Paralympics sports program that includes archery, volleyball and track and field.
"I would tell any wounded warrior not to give up on athletics if that's truly where your heart is, because if it is truly in your heart, you can overcome it," said Sgt. Jerrod Fields, WCAP Paralympian.
Fields, who lost his left leg in 2005 after an improvised explosive device explosion in Iraq, is a 100-and 200-meter runner.