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quixote100104
08-08-2009, 09:37 PM
Greetings :-),

Does anyone know the process of becoming a member of the Olympic Judo team and competing? I'm specifically interested in two points:

First, while obviously one must have a record in national level competition to be considered, for how long would the competitor have to be completely focused on the Olympic Team? What I mean here is that I would assume that, at some point, one would have to go somewhere and stay there for focused training with the team in the lead up to competing. Also, I would imagine there is some time commitent after the competition.

Second, can active US military officers participate? I know they used to ba able to (Patton competed in pentathalon).

What I'm trying to create here is a character who, while serving as an officer in the Marines in the 1990s, became a member of the Olympic Judo team and to figure out how that would have impacted his assignments/career progression.

Thanks :-),

dgiharris
08-08-2009, 09:54 PM
I did a lot of collegiate sports, Track and Field mostly.

What I can tell you from that perspective is that you make the Olympic tryouts based on your collegiate and national record. That is, you need to be placing in the top 1% to even be asked to the Olympic Trials.

Olympic Trials are usually held around 8 months prior to the Olympics if memory serves.

Military members are not only allowed to try out (if they qualify) but HIGHLY encouraged. If you are an Olympic Caliber athlete, the military will actual designate that as your official job. So needless to say, that is not even close to an issue. From the military's perspective, each branch has around 500,000 members (give or take 100,000). At most, each branch only has around 15 Olympic caliber athletes. So it is a non-issue and great PR.

Now, depending on the Olympic Team you are on, there is a Full Time 'time' committment. You workout with the team. Their is an Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs and you will most likely go there. As the window for the Olympics gets tighter, you train more with the team and they actually impose a curfew (You sign a contract upon being accepted on the team).

What is the impact to one's career?

Being on the Olympics in the Military is considered a special duty. What this means is that the COmmand Organization of the military will 'look at for you'. They will make sure that your record looks good so that it will not impact your promotion schedule (majority of military is on a schedule in terms of getting promoted, especially officers).

You will be given duties that have a low probability of hurting you. Recruiting, Liaison work, Logistics, PR, basically anything BUT combat. In these duties, there are clear paths to promotions so its not too big a deal.

Also, being an Olympic Caliber Athlete is such a narrow window in time. Usually for men, it is from Age 24 - 34.

So, the odds are that during that 10 year stretch you will only be at peak condition for ONE Olympics which means it will only disrupt your military life for 1 year at most, so again, that's not too big an issue. Military is more than happy to let a few soldiers 'go away' on special duty for all the positive PR it generates.

And if you happen to win an Olympic medal. Ahhh... that's the good stuff. Either way, being an Olympic caliber athlete in the military is a positive AS LONG AS you are not combat.

Now, if you are combat, then you may have some conflict. But i'm not an expert on that since I was NOT combat.

Mel...