Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
(518) 354-2250,
abird@usbsf.com

National Guard partners with USA Bobsled & Skeleton

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (Sept. 26, 2011)- The U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USBSF) is proud to announce the United States Army National Guard as a premiere sponsor for the 2011-2012 season.  Nine USBSF athletes are members of military branches, and six of those are National Guard Soldiers.

"These team members bring the same high standards they hold as Soldiers into their role as athletes," said Darrin Steele, USBSF CEO and former National Guard Soldier.  "The National Guard not only trains some of the best Soldiers in the world, but also some of the best athletes to represent our country on the world’s stage."

USBSF National Guard Soldier-athletes and Soldier-coaches include: Sgt. John Napier and Ssg. Tuffield Latour from Vermont, Pfc. Justin Olsen and Spc. Nick Cunningham from New York, 2nd Lt. Mike Kohn from Virginia, and Sgt. Shauna Rohbock from Utah.  Other military USBSF Soldier-athletes in the Army include First Lieutenant Chris Fogt, 2nd Lt. Kristi Koplin and Spc. Megan Henry in the Army Reserve.  Former USBSF Soldier-athletes include Olympic gold medalists Jill Bakken and Steven Holcomb and Olympic bronze medalist Dan Steele.

"The Army National Guard is excited to conduct our Winter Sports program with the USBSF," said Sgt. Maj. Keith Wheeler.  "The energy, excitement and people involved are a direct reflection of what we are looking for in the Army National Guard.  We are looking forward to a very productive and exciting season."

The National Guard enables citizens to serve their community, state, and country as a full or part-time Soldier.  Learn about the various career opportunities the National Guard offers at www.nationalguard.com.

In return for the National Guard’s support, the USBSF will provide National Guard with a designated wrap on a four-man bobsled, integrate USBSF Soldier-athletes in classrooms around the nation as pen pal mentors, and offer hospitality and recruitment opportunities at the 2012 World Championships in Lake Placid, NY this February.

"The USBSF and National Guard represent the same ideals of respect and integrity," Napier said. "I am honored to represent my flag and country as a Soldier-athlete, and I am proud to wear USA on my uniform whether it’s on ice or on the battlefield."

Just months after competing in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games Sgt. Napier and 1st Lt. Fogt requested deployment.  Napier served six months with the 86th Infantry Mountain Combat Brigade in Afghanistan while Fogt spent a year in Iraq with the Military Intelligence branch. 

"It was an honor to be their teammate and it’s an even greater honor to be their coach," said Kohn, who retired from sliding after the 2010 Games and was recently hired as an assistant coach.  "As war veterans, you can bet they will have your back.  Their experience overseas will help them lead our team and bring a cohesiveness to the squad that will make us even stronger when we step on the starting block as team USA."

Second Lt. Kohn graduated from officer candidate school on Sept. 22. and will be commissioned as an officer on Oct. 22. The two-time Olympian joined the National Guard in 1999 and credits his 12 years of service for his athletic success.

"Soldiers in the National Guard are loyal and have a lot of personal courage," Kohn said.  "There is no ‘I’ in team, and that’s the core for what makes the military function and why we have the best military in the world.  It’s about helping your buddy who is fighting with you, and that core value translates over to our sports.  Our Soldier-athletes want to give back to the country, and they will combine efforts to not only defend our nation, but to bring home gold. I love military life, coaching and bobsledding, and I’ve been lucky to have the support of both the National Guard and the USBSF to combine my passions."

Sgt. Shauna Rohbock joined the Utah National Guard in 2000 and went on to win the 2006 Olympic silver medal with teammate Valerie Fleming.  Rohbock announced her retirement as an athlete at the conclusion of last season, but will continue to serve the sport and the National Guard as a Soldier-coach at the Utah Olympic Park.

"I don’t think I would have an Olympic silver medal if it wasn’t for the National Guard," Rohbock said.  "I owe a lot of my success in bobsled to the National Guard for allowing me to be in the sports program.  I was able to train the way I needed to train to be competitive in my sport.  Joining the National Guard was the best decision I have made in life so far."

You can learn more about how to take the challenge and find your strength by visiting www.nationalguard.com.  For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at abird@usbsf.com, or at (518) 354-2250. 

Lake Placid is gearing up to host the 2012 World Championships this February.  Stay updated on the team’s progress leading up to the biggest event of the season by following the team on the USBSF Twitter page, or on the USA Bobsled & Skeleton Facebook page.  You can also watch athlete interviews and check out the action on the USABobsledSkeleton YouTube channel.

About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation
The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: BMW Group, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, EDAS/Ripxx, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at
http://bobsled.teamusa.org.

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