Sigonella aviator to make splash at 'military Olympics'
Navy Lt. Ian Johnston’s photos explain it all — athletes of every nationality competing and later smiling for the camera.
Some of those athletes, including Johnston, will meet again at the third annual Military World Games, Dec. 4-11 in Catania, Sicily.
Eighty-four countries are expected to be represented in what many people call the “military Olympics.” Athletes will compete in 11 events, including football, track and field, basketball, volleyball, boxing, cycling and sailing.
Johnston, an aviator stationed at Sigonella, Sicily, is a returning competitor to the games. He participated in Zagreb, Croatia, in 1999. This year, he’s a member of a swimming team consisting of four men and three women representing every branch of service.
To train for the event, Johnston has been using a cyber coach. The coach e-mails him a workout routine daily.
“I usually train by myself in the pool and then try and cross-train with weights and things of that nature,” said Johnston.
“The workouts are designed around me and what I put in for input.”
In Zagreb, Johnston made the finals in both the 200-meter breast stroke and 400-meter individual medley. Winners receive a gold, silver or bronze medal, as competitors do in the Olympic Games.
Whatever the results are this year, however, Johnston said it is the camaraderie of the event that is the biggest draw for him.
“[These games] are so important, especially in this day in age, with everything going on,” he said. “You’re taking off your uniform, putting on your sweats and competing. We just get together and have a good time.”