JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – Airman and Guardian Olympians now have a new home, as the Department of the Air Force relocated its World Class Athlete and Air Force Shooting programs to Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Moving the programs from Air Force Services Center headquarters in San Antonio to Colorado puts Air Force and Space Force athletes in the heart of the U.S. Olympic training grounds, said Dale Filsell, DAF WCAP Program Manager at AFSVC. The move should improve program management and strengthen collaboration between the Air Force and the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, he added.
The majority of Olympians train in Colorado Springs and the proximity to the Air Force Academy will better support the athletes, said Major Aaron Tissot, AFSVC chief of fitness and sports.
“Recruiting for Olympic caliber athletes for the Air Force and Space Force will be easier in close proximity to high caliber training facilities,” he said, “And, it will allow for Air Force Services, Air Force Academy’s Athletic Department and the other services’ WCAP program management teams to focus on providing what is best for our athletes while in Colorado Springs.”
Athletes compete in national and international events in order to qualify for the Olympic team.
In 1995, the Air Force established its world-class athlete program. When announcing the program, then Air Force Chief of Staff General Ronald R. Fogleman wrote, "This new program is not only good for a small number of Airmen-athletes, it's also good for the Air Force," citing strong recruiting and retention benefits.
“Optimal fitness is a vital cultural component of both the Air and Space Forces, it’s what compels most of the athletes that participate in WCAP,” said Colonel Christopher Parrish, AFSVC commander. “They join to not only to become Airmen or Guardians but to serve their country as world class athletes with the possibility of representing their country at the Olympic Games.”
Prior to acceptance into the WCAP program, the national governing body for each sport reviews athlete applications and provides recommendations to the Air Force or Space Force.
The Department of the Air Force World Class Athlete Program’s application period for the 2024 Summer Olympic season is open. Interested Airmen and Guardians can apply or find out more information on the program by visiting www.myairforcelife.com/sports-world-class-athletes/ or e-mail AFSVC.WCAP.Workflow@us.af.mil.