JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) —
Time is running out for Airmen, Wardens, Reservists and Guardsmen who dream of representing the Department of the Air Force at the next Winter Olympics.
Guardian and Airman athletes have until November 7 to apply for the DAF World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, run by the Air Force Service Center and begin training with hopes of competing in Milano Cortina, Italy in 2026.
Once accepted into the program, athletes train full-time for the chance to represent the DAF and the nation on the world stage.
Throughout the program’s 28-year history, 12 Air Force WCAP members have made the Olympic team with the most recent being Airman 1st Class Kelly Curtis, the first woman aviator make the Winter Olympics team in 24 years.
“This experience has been too good to be true, the support you receive from the Air Force Services Center and WCAP has allowed me to progress in my sport in such a short time,” Curtis said. “Being able to compete in the Olympics would not have been possible without the support of WCAP and my family.”
Established in 1995, Air Force WCAP continues the legacy of Tuskegee Airman Malvin G. Whitfield. Whitfield, a Korean War tail gunner, became the first active-duty American serviceman to win Olympic gold in 1952 in Helsinki.
“Within the Air Force and space force, there are elite athletes who need dedicated, quality training regiments to improve their chances of making the Olympic team,” said Dale Filsell, DAF WCAP Program Manager. “WCAP gives them the opportunity to dedicate the next three years to achieving their goal of competing in the Olympics.”
Although WCAP athletes train full-time in their sport, they are also required to complete all annual and ancillary training, professional military training, fitness evaluations, and other mandatory duties required of all Airmen. .
“Active duty airmen and guards are eligible for WCAP. Applications must be routed through the Athlete’s Career Manager, Commanding Officer and Senior Evaluator to be released from the Career Field and approved to apply,” said Major Aaron Tissot, Chief Fitness and Sports Officer of the AFSVC. “In addition, applicants need an endorsement from their sport’s national governing body, which verifies potential for Team USA.”