Air Force World Class Athletes have sights set on Paris 2024

  • Published
  • By Armando Perez
  • AFIMSC Public Affairs

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas – With the 2022 Winter Olympics in the rear view mirror, nine Airmen have their sights firmly set on the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics as the Department of the Air Force’s newest crop of World Class Athlete Program athletes.

Following on the heels of WCAP athlete and 2022 Winter Olympian Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis, the Airmen have begun training with the hopes of competing in Paris to represent not just the Air Force but the nation.

“Within the Air Force and Space Force, there are elite athletes who require dedicated and quality training regiments to improve their chances of making the Olympic team,” said Dale Filsell, DAF WCAP program manager with the Air Force Services Center.

“Applying and acceptance into WCAP allows them the opportunity to dedicate the next two years to achieve their goal of making the Olympics.”

The nine athletes vying for Team USA:

Maj. Phaelen French, pentathlon, training in Colorado Springs

Maj. Daniel Rich, shooting, training in San Antonio

1st Lt. Jaci Smith, track and field, training in Colorado Springs

1st Lt. Leanne Singleton-Comfort, fencing, training in Colorado Springs

2nd Lt. Sam Fuller, water polo, training in Torrence, California

Senior Airman Michael Mannozzi, racewalking, training in San Diego, California

Airman 1st Class Mitch Brown, Greco wrestling, training in Colorado Springs

Airman 1st Class Tyler Evans, pentathlon, training in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Sonny Taylor, boxing, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Taylor is currently waiting for a basic training date to begin his career as a U.S. Air Force Airman.

“It's an honor to be a part of WCAP,” said Brown. “I joined the military to help other people and to serve my country, but I didn't think I would have the opportunity to represent the Air Force and the USA on the biggest stage in sport.”

With the caliber of training venues in Colorado Springs, WCAP management operations recently relocated there from the AFSVC headquarters in San Antonio.

“This allows our active-duty Airmen and Guardians eligible for WCAP to train within the Olympic facilities,” said Maj. Aaron Tissot, AFSVC fitness and sports chief.  “Additionally, the move improves service and program recognition, improves athlete performance, cultivates professional skills and builds resiliency for our service members.”

Air Force and Space Force athletes are now in the heart of the U.S. Olympic training grounds, further strengthening the collaboration between the Air Force and the Olympic and Paralympic Training Center, he added.

“The Air Force has a wealth of untapped athletic talent,” said Brown. “To those already serving that may not know about the program and have the desire to be an Olympian, I say look up the requirements for your respective sport and get to work. If you meet the standards, send up an application and come join us!”

Applications for WCAP are routed through the athlete’s career field manager, commander and senior rater for release from the career field and endorsement, said Tissot.

“Additionally, athletes need an endorsement from their sport’s national governing body to verify their potential to make Team USA,” he added.

For more on the WCAP program and to follow the progress of WCAP athletes, visit the web site at​

(Editor’s Note: Although WCAP athletes train full-time in their given sport, they are still required to complete all annual and ancillary training, professional military education, fitness assessments and other mandatory tasks required of all Airmen and Guardians.)