U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What is it?

The U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP) is a military detachment run by the U.S. Army Installation Management Command. It was established in 1997 by the Army to support Public Law 84-11, which allows the Army to provide all Soldiers (Regular, Reserve, and National Guard) an opportunity to train for and participate in Olympic and Paralympic competitions while maintaining a professional military career.

Soldiers must be nationally ranked in their chosen sport to be considered for the program. WCAP Soldiers balance athletic training with their military careers and are Soldiers first. They return to traditional military units upon completion of their WCAP assignment.

What has the Army done?

Since 1948, about 500 Army Soldiers have represented the United States at the summer and winter Olympic Games as athletes/coaches, winning gold, silver, and bronze Olympic medals. The Soldier athletes have earned more than 110 medals in a variety of sports from bobsled, track and field, boxing, wrestling, and shooting.

Currently, there are 60 Soldier-athletes assigned to WCAP participating in 12 different sports and training in seven different locations across the nation.

WCAP Soldiers support the U.S. Army Recruiting Command’s Total Army Involvement in Recruiting mission and assists in reinforcing a positive image of the Army by providing recognition to athletes. They assist with the instruction and training of thousands of troops in combative, or hand-to-hand combat, techniques.

What continued efforts have been planned for the future?

WCAP is working with other services to become the lead agency for the Joint-Service Para-athlete Program, which provides wounded warriors with training and opportunities to qualify for the Paralympic Games. This program supports resiliency, providing the wounded warriors with the means to pursue new goals and dreams in spite of their battle injuries, inspiring other wounded warriors and the world with their accomplishments.

Why is this important to the Army?

The World Class Athlete Program is an example of how the Army values its Soldiers for more than just their accomplishments as war fighters. Soldier-athletes represent the United States and the U.S. Army to the world. This program helps to reinforce American public’s pride in the armed forces.

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