The Air Force announces the best athletes of the year

The Air Force announces the best athletes of the year

The Air Force recently announced Winter Olympic Champion and Nationally ranked Jiu-Jitsu Champion as the 2021 Male and Female Athletes of the Year – Pilot Class 1 Kelly Curtis and Sgt. Justin Southicak, respectively.

Sportswear of the year

Curtis, a knowledge management technician with the 31st Communications Squadron at Aviano Air Force Base, Italy. “I joined the list of wonderful women and I am honored to be in such good company.”

“The list of awards that she received during the award period included her classification as the best athlete in the Air Force, the military skeleton in the world and the highest military Olympian hopes for 2022 Winter GamesMajor Aaron Tissot, President of DAF Fitness & Sports, said: Air Force Service Center.

As an “expert in her profession,” Curtis was also asked by name to conduct track testing and research and development at the Beijing venue ahead of the Olympics, according to her nomination package.

Prior to the Olympics, Curtis put in more than 500 hours of training, competed in 12 international events for an average of 11th place among her peers worldwide and represented the Air Force’s World Class Athletic Program, or WCAP, at the Lake’s Skeleton Team Trials. Placid, New York, placed third for Team USA.

Curtis got what many see as a late start in the Air Force at age 31, after learning she could serve her country and continue to play a sport she loved.

“I first learned of the opportunity to combine the two when I joined USA Bobsled and Skeleton and saw how many skaters are actively serving in the military,” Curtis said. “Once I became good enough to compete with our national team, I started my application to register with the Air Force and join the WCAP.”

As the first WCAP pilot to enter basic military training, she spearheaded an Elite Athletes recruitment initiative that sparked interest in more than 20 elite athletes, as her nomination indicated, and Curtis shone as an Air Force ambassador and WCAP athlete in global competitions.

“I feel privileged every time I compete for the country and serve as an ambassador for not only Team USA, but also the USAF. I still have a lot to learn and I look forward to learning from my wingmates,” Curtis said.

Curtis attributes her success and selection as Athlete of the Year to her strong support network.

She said, “My village is made up of a world-class Air Force athletic program, 31st CS, my teammates and coaches at USA Bobsled and Skeleton, and friends and family who have supported me in this eight-year endeavor.” “I am also fortunate enough to have a husband, Jeff Meliron, who has also agreed to join me in this unexpected chapter of our lives. His support has been steadfast and his strength and adaptive programming have proven that she deserves this title enough.”

Male athlete of the year

Being named Air Force Male Athlete of the Year is “really fantastical” for Sgt. Justin Southchuck, Production Supervisor, 649th Ordnance Squadron at Hill Air Force BaseUtah.

“I am sure the Air Force has many truly inspiring and motivating athletes in their profession, and I am grateful for leading my nomination and an honor to represent the best Air Force in the world,” Southchuck said.

He also thanked his coach, Eduardo Mori, and his training partner, Aimee Campo, for saying, “I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am if it wasn’t for them… These two really pushed me to excel in the sport of jiu-jitsu.”

Tissot said that during the awarding period, Southichak’s record in several competitions helped him to outperform other male athletic candidates.

Southichack finished first in his eight-competitor division at the 2021 Winter Impact Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ, Open Gi competition in Salt Lake City; first of 12 in the North American Championship Wrestling in Vegas, the No-G division in Las Vegas; 1st out of 32 fighters in his weight class at the BJJ International No-Gi BJJ World Championships in Dallas; He placed first out of 334 competitors in his weight class at the IBJJF Masters I Blue Belt, and was ranked number six in his division for the year 2021.

“Throughout my career in the Air Force, athletics has played a vital role in my personal well-being and FlexibilitySouthichack, who has participated in several team sports in addition to boxing, bodybuilding and weightlifting, said.

In addition to being an ammunition trooper, Southichack was a physical training leader, a fitness unit program director and part of a fitness cell at every duty station assigned to him.

Even with his athletic experience, he said he didn’t find a purpose in the sport until 2019 when Jiu-Jitsu found it as a way to connect with his young son and teach him self-defense.

The martial arts of jiu-jitsu, a sport that has gained popularity in recent years, is a discipline that is “unbiased by gender, age, size or physical ability, and focuses on pushing an opponent to the ground to neutralize any force or size that the opponent may impose,” Southichak said.

“It has been shown to help individuals physically, mentally, spiritually, socially and psychologically throughout one’s life as well,” he said, “with culture engendering a sense of acceptance and camaraderie.”

Tissot said the Air Force’s fitness and sports programs, such as the Athletic of the Year program, emphasize the importance of mission success through continued dedication and hard work, and the importance of maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle.

Our sports and fitness programs are designed to allow pilots and guardians To achieve their sporting goals, stay flexible both personally and professionally, and ultimately that increases our readiness for our mission,” said Tissot.

When it comes to the importance of athletics for building better, stronger, and more resilient pilots, Curtis said, “I’ve learned to build a process I love, and then do my best to let that process work. It’s not a great training day, but it’s a daily monotonous day to work toward an athletic goal that builds resilience.”

“I can’t speak for all pilots, but I know I feel better after pumping some endorphins into my body,” she said.

Southichak has said throughout his life that athletics helped him ensure that he was not satisfied with him.

“I’ve always pushed with the status quo and made sure I was ‘fit to fight’,” Southchuck said. I constantly preach to my pilots that we should never accept mediocrity but chase excellence.”

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