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Airman Fitness Prepares Competitors in Rocky Mountain State Games

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Comprehensive Airman Fitness exists to enhance the resilience of individuals, families, and communities. The effectiveness of the program is obvious when many Airmen are among the thousands who participated in the state's largest sports festival - The Rocky Mountain Games.

More than 10,000 athletes competed in more than 40 different events in the 14th annual version of the Games. Events were held in a variety of venues throughout the Pikes Peak Region over two weekends, July 17-19 and 24-26.

Second Lt. Shawn Hansen, 21st Comptroller Squadron financial services flight commander, competed in his first Games. He competed in Racquetball and brought home first place in his first tournament of any kind. Hansen said he has played the sport off and on during his eight years in the Air Force, but got serious about it five months ago.

"Another guy in the squadron invited me to the 'league' after work. Maybe 10-15 guys on Mon/Wed who are really good," he said. "I got a good workout and was humbled by guys twice my age... It's a fast paced game that requires more finesse than I originally thought."

Another Airman who competed this year was Tech. Sgt. Paul McWhirter, who runs sound for the U.S. Air Force Academy band. He is the defending shot put champion for the Games in the 30-39 age group. He will go to Nebraska and compete in the National Games in August by virtue of that win.

Last year he heard about the Games and signed up just for the fun of it. He had not picked up a shot since high school, about 20 years.

"Last year I had zero expectation," McWhirter explained. "I was just happy to get out, have fun and do something in the community."

Staff Sgt. Adam Porter, concert band operations manager for the USAFA band, competed in his first powerlifting meet ever during the Games. He is a former triathlete who did weight training from time to time. He has lifted weights steadily for about eight years he said. He heard about the games from McWhirter.

When Porter's wife was diagnosed with breast cancer he needed a diversion and training for the Games seemed like a good one, he said. He competed in the 90 kg division on July 26 and his wife's final treatment was on the 28th, so preparing for the competition helped him through the entire round of her chemotherapy.

He is not naturally strong and athletic so going to the gym regularly and maintaining fitness is important. Because powerlifting deals with a different system of muscles, Porter has to break from lifting to focus on PT, working on endurance instead of strength training.

"I will be happy if I get three clean lifts in each lift," he said. "If I can lift 900 pounds (total) in my first competition I will feel good about the effort I have put into it."
Former USAFA basketball player turned triathlete, Lt. Col. Kallie Quinn, 302nd Airlift Wing inspector general participated in her fourth Games. She is in her ninth year competing in triathlons. She credits her Air Force training with keeping her active and competitive.

"I think I have been able to transfer skills learned both on the sport field and in Air Force training to all things I do in life.  Both sports and Air Force training teach you deal with adversity, be resilient, understand teamwork and pursue excellence," Quinn said. "They both test your work ethic, time management and your toughness.  I am proud to be an Air Force Member and race in Air Force gear to highlight the great things the Air Force is about."

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