Olympians and Troops…similarities in excellence!

Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hawaii -  With the snow melting literally around them, US Ski Team and Snowboard Olympic Team members: Emily Cook and Alex Deibold charged through the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

One came home with Olympic Bronze, the other with the satisfaction of a best Olympic result after 3 Olympic Teams and Games.

Now a little over a month after the Sochi Winter Olympic Games have come to a close the two Olympians are headed west to another seaside clime: Hawaii and Joint Base Pearl Harbor's Hickam Air Force Base and Marine Corps Base Hawaii.  While most Olympians take time off to recharge from an Olympic Games, Cook and Deibold are focused on spending time with American Service Members as part of American300's 'Heavy Medal Tour VII'.

American300 has rounded up Olympic athletes and asked them to share their personal life experiences with service members… and sweat with them too since 2009.   The first Olympian to tour with the nonprofit: Olympic gold medalist and hall of fame runner Frank Shorter, who traveled to Iraq.  "The parallels between pursuing a career of excellence as an amateur athlete and those of serving our country in the armed forces are surprisingly similar," says Mike Lane, a volunteer with American300 who has traveled on 2 Heavy Medal Tours, adding, "We would have stopped doing these themed Olympian Troop Tours had it not been for the feedback we receive from commanders and their teams on the ground. Troops just love meeting and sharing with Olympians."

Swapping personal life stories, providing encouragement and offering support is the foundation of American300 Tours resiliency programming which includes themed tours involving a wide array of individuals, from wounded warriors to extreme and professional athletes.

When Olympians are involved they travel under the themes of:  'Heavy Medal Tour' and 'Beyond the Games' each involving Olympians giving up their time and energy to connect with service members.  "We've had Olympians all over the world engaging with service members in everything from tactical exercises to demanding physical fitness tests," says Robi Powers, Veteran and founder of American300, he adds "but listening to the athletes and service members just talk is what gives us the biggest positive charge.  Once they get chatting away you can't tell who the Olympians are vs. the Service Members."

The two worlds of: duty, sacrifice and total commitment just aren't that far apart.   "I just can't wait to experience what these service members go through on a regular basis, they tell me I'm going to be doing a 15km combat gear run with the Marines next week," says Alex Deibold, a Sochi Winter Games Olympic Bronze Medalist in snowboarding boardercross, "I'm down for living in their boots literally, if that means trying out new things all the better."

Emily Cook, considered by most to be one of America's true Olympic Team ambassadors has always wanted to connect with service members.  When the opportunity to join the American300 Tours became available she jumped at it.  "It's incredible to think about and talk about the things that we have in common with our service members, our troops have faced so many obstacles that we can't even imagine, but there are similarities in how we overcome obstacles and that is what I'm excited to share next week," says Cook, a 15 year veteran of international elite athletics adding, "I've always wanted to be able to do this, now after 3 Olympic Teams I am and it's just fantastic."

For Cook, the journey to visit Air Force Airmen and Marines won't be the last of her volunteer duties with American300 this year. "We have Emily slated to travel with Army wounded warrior and 2x US Paralympic Team member Patrick McDonald, the 'Skip' of the USA Men's Curling Paralympic Team in June, they'll be visiting Barksdale Air Force Base on 'Heavy Medal Tour VIII'" says Lane.

Elite athletes and the world's greatest Armed Forces, similarities in excellence… let the sharing begin!

For more on American300 Tours visit:  www.American300.org

American300 is a all volunteer nonprofit 501c3 with a mission of supporting the Department of Defenses Comprehensive Service Member Fitness Programs.   No federal endorsement is implied or intended - American300.org

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