As the saying goes, “the sky is the limit” but for one local Soldier, whose career has been nothing short of big dreams and success, there has been no limit.
Representing both the U.S. Army and the United States, Capt. Chris Fogt, an officer currently attending the Military Intelligence Captain’s Career Course here, won a Bronze medal during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
It all began in 2007 when Fogt attended a bobsled camp in Lake Placid, New York. While he didn’t like it right away, he ended up staying and his dream to be an Olympic bobsledder began.
After he graduated from Utah Valley University where he was a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps candidate, Fogt commissioned into the Army as a second lieutenant in the MI branch in 2008.
Upon completion of the MI Officer Basic Leadership Course here at Fort Huachuca, Fogt moved to Fort Carson, Colorado, and joined the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program, or WCAP, where he trained to be an Olympic athlete.
Training in the Army, in Military Intelligence and for the Olympics seems like a lot but it all goes hand-in-hand, Fogt explained.
“In bobsledding, the amount of practice and time and attention to detail of where you ride, the aerodynamics, just the attention to the small things is what makes you stand out,” he said. “In the MI world you spend a lot of time looking over [guides], briefings, practicing your briefings, putting together your products and how much detail goes into it. It’s things like that in the MI world that helped me excel in the cerebral part of the sport.”
Training for the Olympic Games can be physically and mentally demanding but in conjunction with the Army’s Performance Triad plan, which focuses on the sleep, activity and nutrition of Soldiers, the WCAP continuously assesses Soldier-athletes in training.
“We have a nutritionist that comes out and works with us, we have trainers, a physician’s assistant, access to mental health specialists … to keep you well-rounded and balanced in both your mind and your body, which are both very important when you compete at a level like that,” Fogt said.
During his training, Fogt was selected to represent the U.S. in the 2010 Olympic Games with three other team members in the USA-2 sled, in four-man bobsled. But they crashed in the second run. While there weren’t any physical injuries sustained, Fogt said that he was emotionally bruised.
“The Olympic Games are unique because you only have once every four years to compete,” Fogt explained. “I had my colleges rooting for me, the Army, the WCAP, my whole Family was there … I just felt like I let a lot of people down.”
There was little time to dwell on his loss, though. Shortly after the Olympic Games were complete, Fogt deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.
“I am a Soldier first and because I knew that I hadn’t served my time, even though I was very blessed to compete in the Olympic Games, I decided it was my turn to head down range,” he said.
When he returned home July 4, 2011, he immediately began training for the 2014 Olympics, and did so for two-and-a-half years. The intense training paid off and Fogt made the USA-1 sled team. And again, Fogt and three other men were representing the U.S.
The Soldier explained that being deployed overseas helped to improve his mental strength and focus as he transitioned from the memories of the 2010 Olympic Games to the preparation for his second chance.
“When you crash on a stage like the Olympic Games you’re kind of humiliated because you just took last place,” Fogt said. “When I was in Iraq, I was the aide-de-camp for a two-star general and he introduced me to three- and four-star generals and they would ask me, ‘How’d you do in the Olympic Games?’ I had to tell them all I took last place. It was a very humbling thing that kept me motivated to keep training. I wanted a better result.
“There are days when you are off, days when you have a workout and you can’t lift anything,” he added. “And there are days when you crash in a race and make last place. But you keep trying because eventually the hard work pays off.”
And that it did. In their fourth heat on the ice, Fogt and his team came in .03 seconds ahead of fourth place, winning the bronze medal for U.S.A.
“It was pandemonium at the bottom [of the last run]. It was awesome,” he said. “It was a really good feeling and such a relief.”
Fogt is a man who wears several hats — a Soldier, an Olympic athlete, a student, a husband, and in just a couple of weeks, a father. Juggling it all can be challenging, he admitted. But the Army, competing in the Olympics, and life experience have taught him how to be resilient.
“Coming to [the MICCC] course, I realize that I am a little behind so I am reading Army manuals and doing more than my classmates have to do because they have four to six years of straight Army experience and I have a little less time. So I am trying to balance these two career fields,” Fogt said.
A big smile creeps across his face when Fogt talks about his winning medal — as it should. In his four-man team, he was the only one who had not received an Olympic medal prior to this year.
“My favorite part of having a medal is not for myself or to show what I have done,” Fogt said. “I like showing it to people and kids. People don’t get to hold a medal every day. It’s not so much to boast for myself but it’s cool to see that the U.S. won an Olympic medal.”
As life calms down for Fogt, he is refocusing on his Army career and preparing for his next debut – as a father. While he hasn’t completely ruled out returning to bobsledding, he said he wants to take some time off for his Family and become more proficient in his job as an intelligence officer.
Regardless of what his future holds, it’s the life lessons — resiliency, perseverance, and dedication — that have been most important to Fogt.
“The thing I like is the camaraderie in the Army and the camaraderie on a team like bobsledding. You spend so much time training together, bleeding together, working together and the Army is the same way,” Fogt said. “I have liked both parts of the Army and the sport. You’re always looking out for each other.”