Soldiering and Olympic training go hand in hand, says athlete

by David Vergun
U.S. Army

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. -- Capt. Christopher Fogt sprints, lifts weights and trains on a bobsled track six days a week here, month after month, preparing for the 2018 XXIII Winter Olympics In PyeongChang, South Korea.

It's grueling, he said of his training. Besides that, his two- and four-man sled team is competing for a spot on Team USA, so there's an understanding that most won't even qualify, adding to the competitive drive, he said.

A Soldier's way of life can at times be grueling as well, he said.

For instance, the military intelligence analyst said he spent 15 days in "the box," what Soldiers call the dusty, hilly, sparse terrain that is the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

During that time, the Soldiers didn't shower and often missed meals and sleep, he said.

But harsh conditions often bring out the best in people. "I saw Soldiers grow and develop as they trained, learned news skills and relied on teamwork to succeed," he said.

Hard work, perseverance and a desire to improve are qualities that make for a good Soldier as well as a good athlete, he continued, so there's a good fit in being able to do both.

Fogt also served in Iraq from 2010 to 2011. A year away from home is a big sacrifice for Soldiers and their families, he said. Soldiers missed their anniversaries, children's birthdays and graduations and other meaningful events.

"In the Army, you bleed together, you sweat together ... and it makes you feel close."

There are some similarities with a bobsledding team, he remarked. "You get very, very close. It's a brotherhood."

A lot of Soldiers would probably make good Olympic athletes because they have the qualities to succeed in whatever they do, he said, encouraging anyone interested to look into the World Class Athlete Program to find a sport they might be interested in and qualify for.

WCAP helps by providing the coaches, training facilities and finances, he said.

In 2014, Fogt's hard work and training paid off. He earned a bronze medal in Sochi, Russia, as a member of a four-man bobsled team, led by driver Steven Holcomb, who was also in WCAP. They also set a track start record of 4.75 seconds.

Besides having the honor of representing the Army and the United States at the Winter Olympics, Fogt said there are other perks.

Athletes get to travel a lot to different countries during the World Cup races leading up to the Winter Olympics.

Fogt said he had meals with athletes from such countries as China, Russia and Iran in a friendly, collegial setting. "It was a lot of fun. I made friends and got to learn about new cultures."

An added bonus for Fogt is that he gets to train at the U.S. Lake Placid Olympic Training Center here with his younger brother Brent. The two look alike and people frequently mistake one for the other, he remarked.

Besides training together, the brothers have also served together. Both were with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team of the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. Brent is a first lieutenant.

Although they are brothers and want to see each other succeed, they're also fierce competitors. "We grew up competing against each other," Fogt said.

Subscribe to our Stripes Pacific newsletter and receive amazing travel stories, great event info, cultural information, interesting lifestyle articles and more directly in your inbox!

Follow us on social media!

Facebook: Stars and Stripes Pacific
Flipboard: Stars and Stripes Community Sites

Looking to travel while stationed abroad? Check out our other Pacific community sites!
Stripes Japan
Stripes Okinawa
Stripes Korea

Recommended Content