By Brittany Nelson, IMCOMApril 5, 2019
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The U.S. Army's World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) has helped multiple athletes achieve international and Olympic sport dreams while creating and furthering their Army careers.
WCAP is a program where top ranked Soldier-athletes train to compete at the international level while serving in the U.S. Army with the goal of making it to the Olympic or Paralympic games.
The winter sliding sports, bobsled, skeleton and luge, have seen success within the WCAP program.
Sgt. Shauna Rohbock, a previous WCAP athlete and now a bobsled coach, joined the Army shortly after she started competing in the sport.
"When I started bobsledding, I met a few athletes that were in the program and they said, 'If you plan on sledding for a long amount of time, you should look into this program,' and I did. It was the best thing I ever did," said Rohbock.
Rohbock, an Olympic silver medalist, said that being a Soldier and an athlete go hand-in-hand.
"They both require mental and physical toughness as well as resiliency. Being an athlete makes you a better Soldier and being a Soldier makes you a better athlete," said Rohbock.
Recruiting is also a big part of the WCAP program. The Soldier-athletes regularly partner with Total Army Involvement Recruiting by visiting schools and talking to students about WCAP and the Army.
"I would say WCAP is a great recruiting tool for the Army because it enables us to send athletes out into a military or civilian setting and show that the Army is multifaceted," said Olympic athlete Cpt. Mike Kohn, former bobsled athlete and now coach.
Sgt. Justin Olsen, a WCAP bobsledder, says Kohn is the reason he joined the program.
"My first roommate at the Olympic training center was Mike Kohn who was a member of the National Guard and WCAP," said Olsen. "I asked Kohn why he had a uniform in his closet and he told me he is a member of this incredible program, WCAP. I asked him about a thousand questions. When I asked him if he thought it would be a good fit for me he said 'absolutely.' He was my biggest advocate."
Olsen, an Olympic gold medalist, has won five National Championships and competed in two Winter Olympic Games since joining WCAP.
Olsen says he is glad he is a Soldier-athlete because he can work on both his bobsledding and military career.
"I've been able to work toward my career in the Army, better my leadership skills and look forward to something in the future for a career. If I had to stop bobsled today I don't have any fear for what's next," said Olsen.
U.S.A bobsled team member Lake Kwaza recently finished first place as brake woman for Elana Meyers Taylor at the Lake Placid Bobsled World Cup. Kwaza heard about WCAP through Kohn.
"When I got to Lake Placid, I saw WCAP Soldiers and Cpt. Kohn talked to me. I thought it would be a great opportunity to serve my country in a different way. It seems like the next step for me career wise," said Kwaza.
Kwaza has two brothers in the military and considered joining after high school but went on to run track and field at the University of Iowa instead.
"I plan on making a career out of the military so once bobsled is done I plan on continuing with the military. I feel like WCAP is the perfect set-up, I am able to do what I love and then the transition will be that much easier," said Kwaza.
WCAP continually helps Soldier-athletes with their athletic and military careers so they have the capability to give back to the U.S. Army and always support the mission.
For more information on WCAP, visit armywcap.com.