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from previous years, but NBC still drew 31.7 million viewers for the opening ceremonies. Telecasts throughout the games often were the most- watched program in the coveted 18-49 demographic — one that also happens to be valuable when it comes to military recruitment. Olympic athletes’ stories


often are told in major news out- lets leading up to the games. This year, WCAP athlete Spc. Elkanah Kibet, USA, has appeared in dozens of media outlets, including USA Today, which ran a feature on his journey from his home nation of Kenya to the U.S. Army, then to the WCAP, and fi nally to the Olympic marathon tri- als. While Kibet didn’t qualify for the games this summer, his story was cir- culated to over 4 million USA Today readers. Similarly, Airman 1st Class Tyler Westlund, a member of the Air Force wrestling team, fell just short of an Olympic berth. But his story also was broadcast to countless viewers on television and through social media.


(right) Air Force WCAP ath- lete 2nd Lt. Morgan Mosby, left, moves to pass a competi- tor during the Military World Games. (above) 2015 Coast Guard Elite Female Athlete of the Year Lt. Nyrel Allen shows off her powerlifting medals and trophy from the 2015 USA Powerlifting Military Nation- als. (top) Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson of the Army WCAP shoots at a target during qualifications for the Olympic men’s 25-meter rapid-fire pistol event. (facing page) U.S. Naval Academy Cadet Lauren Barber is one of 19 swimmers from Patriot League schools to qualify for the Olympic Trials.


60 MILITARY OFFICER JUNE 2016


Wide range of programs While military athletes headed to the Olympics get a lot of the attention, thousands of others perform in vari- ous sports as part of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation programs. The basic level


of involvement is at the intramural level, which can be found on nearly every base, post, or installation and even overseas on forward operating bases. These programs provide fi t- ness opportunities for servicemem- bers and contribute to their overall welfare. Some sports have base or post-level competitions, while major sports like basketball and soccer participate in service-wide compe- titions. The military athletes who serve on teams like the all-Army soccer team or the Air Force rugby team can be transferred temporar- ily to prepare for and participate in major competitions like the Armed Forces Sports Championships, USA Nationals events, and even world championships like the Military World Games.


Each service has its own specifi c


programs. The Army and Air Force give servicemembers the oppor- tunity to focus on Olympic sports through the WCAPs. These soldiers and airmen typically are assigned to the WCAP detachment at Fort Car- son, Colo., so they can train at Fort Carson or the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Marine Corps off ers individu- als like Saddoris a similar chance to shine in a wide variety of sports through the All-Marine Sports pro- gram. The Coast Guard and Navy primarily focus on intramural sports and let their service academies pro- vide athletes and teams for major service-wide tournaments. Make no mistake, these Coast Guard and Navy athletes are just as successful. Take Coast Guard Lt. Nyrel Allen, the 2015 Coast Guard Elite Fe- male Athlete of the Year. A graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Allen re- cently placed fi rst overall at the 2015 USA Powerlift- ing Military Nationals and


PHOTOS: FROM TOP, TIM HIPPS/U.S. ARMY; USAF SPORTS; PETTY OFFICER 3RD CLASS AMANDA NORCROSS, USCG


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