Air Force athletes discuss world class program during roundtable

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Two of the Air Force's top athletes fielded questions during a Department of Defense blogger's roundtable on opening day of the Air Force Association's Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition Sept. 17, in Washington D.C.

Capt. Seth Kelsey and Maj. (Dr.) James Bales answered questions from a phone-in roundtable moderated by DoD's Bradley Cantor. Kelsey placed fourth at the 2012 Olympic Games in London in the individual épeé fencing competition, the best showing by an American in that event since 1956. Bales is triathlon champion named as the 2011 Air Force Athlete of the Year, who recently set an Air Force Marathon record in the 10 kilometer competition. An orthopedic surgeon assigned to the 21st Force Support Squadron, Bales was also the Air Force head coach during this year's Warrior Games competition.

The athletes responded to a series of questions by bloggers Daniel Kissinger of and Michele Cowell of that ranged from the type of training involved to attain their level, to the World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), and how the athletes juggle training, their duties and home life.

"The key to balancing life as an athlete is to focus on one thing for a while," said Kelsey, who is a reservist with the 310th Force Support Squadron, Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Kelsey added that now that the Olympic Games are over, his focus will shift more toward his duties as a reservist, as well as with his girlfriend.

Bales agreed that the training involved with become a world class athlete is mostly a juggling act, between keeping his certifications current as an orthopedic surgeon while maintaining a grueling schedule as an athlete, and somehow fitting in a private life.

Bales and Kelsey also detailed the World Class Athlete Program as a great way for aspiring athletes to train at the national and international levels. Bales explained that WCAP is normally available to Olympic hopefuls two years before an Olympic competition.