By Debbie Gregory.
The U.S. Army will be well represented at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games when seven of its own will compete in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Returning in bobsled will be 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist Sgt. Justin Olsen from San Antonio, Texas; 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Cpt. Chris Fogt from Alpine, Utah; and 2010 and 2014 Olympic team member Sgt. Nick Cunningham from Monterey, California. Olsen and Cunningham are members of the New York National Guard. They will be joined by Sgt. 1st Class Nathan Weber, of the 10th Special Forces, from Pueblo West, Colorado.
Sgt. Emily Sweeney from Suffield, Connecticut, and Sgt. Taylor Morris from South Jordan, Utah, will complete in singles luge, along with Sgt. Matthew Mortensen from Huntington Station, New York, who is competing in the doubles luge event.
All seven participants are part of the U.S. Army Installation Management Command’s World Class Athlete Program. Soldiers in the program balance athletic training with their military careers, and are soldiers first.
The program was established by the Army to support Public Law 84-11, which allows the Army to provide soldiers, including those in the National Guard and the Army Reserve, to train for and participate in athletic competitions on the world stage.
Most soldiers in the program are assigned to the detachment and train on Fort Carson or at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. Others train with the U.S. national team for their specific sport.
Soldiers must be nationally ranked in their chosen sport to be considered for the program. They represent the United States and the Army, maintain their military occupational skills, and often return to traditional military units when they are not competing or training.
On average, 40 to 60 soldiers are in the detachment.