Athlete in Focus: Capt. Joel Bischoff

  • Published
  • By Steve Warns
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- Capt. Joel Bischoff doesn’t just excel in one sport. He excels in three.

Bischoff, operations flight commander for Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 027 at Northern Arizona University, placed second in the Armed Forces Triathlon at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu, California, in June.

Bischoff completed a one-mile ocean swim, a 24.8-mile bicycle ride and a 6.2-mile run to finish with an overall time of 1 hour, 50 minutes, 46 seconds.

Here, Bischoff talks about what it means to represent the U.S. Air Force in the triathlon:

Why compete in the triathlon?
Triathlons started out as something to stay motivated through my first deployment as a security forces officer and transformed as a way to support my father through his fight with cancer and now, in memory of the legacy he left behind.

What’s your experience in triathlon prior to the Air Force? 
I did cross country, swimming and track in high school.  My first sprint triathlon took place when I was 18 in 2006, and I came in second place.  After that, I took several years off through college and into active duty. My next triathlon was in 2012 while I was stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah.

Since competing/coaching in triathlon for the Air Force, what have you gained from an athletic, military and personal perspective? 
I have learned that in order to overcome obstacles, it takes small daily goals that translate into weekly, monthly and annual accomplishments. It is the small daily improvements that add up over time. This same persistence and drive applies to all facets of my life as I balance being a leader, husband and father.  Lastly, I have grown to understand the importance of support.  Without my leadership and family supporting my endeavors, I wouldn't have made it to where I am today, and I am incredibly thankful for their encouragement.

What are you bringing back to your duty station by competing/coaching in triathlon? 
I am incredibly proud to get to represent and compete on the Air Force team. I always wear my USAF team uniform to local races and get to network with other athletes and positively promote the Air Force.  Over the past three years, I have also led the unit fitness program for over 100 individuals. Through that time and a lot of individual hard work, the unit's average fitness assessment score has increased by five points.  At my unit, I have turned into the resident expert on physical training and people are always coming to me for advice. 

How is competing/coaching in triathlon building your readiness and resiliency with your fellow Wingmen, your duty station and the Air Force as a whole?
I help other people at my unit work toward their goals whether that be improving their fitness assessment score or taking on other endeavors.  Fitness is an incredibly important pillar of Airmen resilience allowing you to overcome mentally and/or physically demanding challenges.  Being a member of the USAF triathlon team helps me build unit camaraderie and pride, which in turn helps foster a cohesive team that works well together to accomplish the mission.

For more information on the Air Force Sports program, click here

Editor’s note: Athlete in Focus is a monthly series spotlighting U.S. Air Force athletes.