Everyone can be an olympian

  • Published
  • By Maj. Jeff Katzman
  • 39th Air Base Wing plans
Being stationed overseas can make it difficult to view programming geared toward audiences back in the states. Trying to view the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was no exception (unless you're a fan of curling ... and who's not!). For those that only caught sporadic parts of the Games, let me recap. The U.S. crowned a remarkable performance by capturing a record 37 total medals. This broke the record set by Germany in 2002 for total medals won by one nation at a Winter Olympics. According to the Washington Post, it was also the first Winter Games in 78 years where the U.S. won more medals than any other participant. Furthermore, American downhill skier Bode Miller, who didn't medal in the 2006 Torino Winter Games, won his first gold medal in Vancouver adding to his overall Olympic medal count of five, the most of any U.S. skier. Skier Lindsey Vonn also netted an Olympic gold medal, becoming the first American woman to do so in the downhill event. And finally, short track speed skater Apolo Ohno has a total of eight Olympic medals after his performance in Vancouver, the most all-time for an American in the Winter Games.

Why is this important? Because as you watch our athletes compete on the Olympic stage, one cannot help by being inspired by their perfect poise, their pursuit of excellence and their absolute dedication to the mastery of their craft. And despite all of their set backs or physical injury through the years, they never stop pushing themselves to achieving the complete dominance of their profession. Miller won gold even with a bum left knee and aching right ankle Vonn won gold in spite of the excruciating pain from her bruised shin.

This attitude and constant pursuit of excellence despite the situation at hand is no different than what the Air Force asks of you every day. It's the heart and soul of our third core value: Excellence in all we do. In fact, many mission statements capture the phrase "world-class", as in, "provide world-class customer service" or "ensure world-class combat support." In order to be "world-class," one must rank among the best globally and be able to compete successfully on the world's stage. Does your unit truly embrace that philosophy in support of that declaration on the wall? How are you helping to sustain that image and live up to your creed every day when you come to work?

In a few short weeks, our wing will once again be called upon to prove itself; to prove that it's truly world-class. The test will come the last week of April when the Inspector General will watch us perform our NATO mission. World-class athletes' secret is consistent pursuit of excellence time after time regardless of the circumstances and despite any historical successes. Let's show the Air Force that we've perfected our craft, that we rank among the best, and that we too can be Olympians!