FORT CARSON, Colo. — Fifteen soldiers will represent the United States as athletes and coaches in 7 sports at the Olympics and Paralympic games in Rio, making this the largest group heading to the Summer Games.
From the battlefield to Rio, these Fort Carson soldiers are taking their athletic skills to the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“In the Army, we don’t just fight wars, we have harder stuff we can do, so doing this to represent the army especially in the Olympics it means a lot to us,” specialist Leonard Korir, U.S. Army 10k runner said.
These army athletes train almost every day for hours at a time to make sure they’re ready for Rio, and they say their military background has helped them reach the ultimate stage.
“Going through the Army training, that made me to be mentally strong. Going to the race I use the Army training and I think that’s helpful to have me to compete at the highest level,” Sergeant Hillary Bor, U.S. Army 3,000m steeplechase said.
As for the health concerns surrounding the Zika virus, some of the Olympians aren’t bothered by it all.
“When I’m going down to Rio, I’m going down to compete, if there is a mosquito on my shoulder when I am running. I will keep running I am not worried,” Sergeant Nathan Schrimsher, U.S. Army Modern Pentathlon said.
Even though the competitors have gold medals on their mind, these Summer Games are not all about winning.
“To be a soldier and athlete and compete in the United States is an honor, and I want to do the best that I can at it, and that’s what I am going to do. I can’t wait until Rio and I can’t wait to show the world what the U.S. Army and United States can do,” Schrimsher said.
Another Army soldier athlete competing in Rio is Sergeant Elizabeth Marks. She will be competing in the 10- meter breast stroke in the Paralympics.
Marks has won four gold medals at the 2016 Invictus Games, and now she is also receiving the Pat Tillman Award for service at the ESPY’s.
“I hope to deserve, and I hope to earn throughout my life. Not just right now, I think it is not just a title and being associated with Pat Tillman who is an honorable and amazing athlete who served his country and gave the ultimate sacrifice is substantial,” Marks said.