Air Force surgeon aiming for the 2012 Olympic triathlon - National Triathlon

Captain James Bales has managed to rack up accomplishments in his profession that anyone would be proud of. He is currently an orthopedic surgeon for the 21st Support Squadron and is on staff at the US Air Force Academy Hospital. Bales is himself a 2001 graduate of the Academy. But medicine isnt the only field that Bales has excelled in; he is also a world class triathlete. The Air Force Space Command recently published a profile of their airman-triathlete.

Captain Bales was named the 2010 US Air Force Male Athlete of the Year, based in part on his performance at the 2010 Armed Forced Triathlon, which he won with a time of 1:46:32. Bales has competed in the event annually since 2003 and has also competed in the 2007 World Military Games and the Ironman World Championship in 2008.

In keeping with the old Air Force recruiting slogan, Bales is now aiming higher. Now he is gunning for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. To that end, he is now a part of the Air Force World Class Athlete Program (WCAP). The two-year program will help him train for the Olympic Trials and, hopefully, the Games as well. The triathlon world has seen several of its top competitors come from the WCAPs of the military services. As a member of the program, Bales trains at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

In a Jan. 18 interview with Margie Arnold of the 21st Support Squadron, Bales explained how he ended up as a triathlete. Although he didnt start swimming until high school, he was a 4 year letter winner in the sport at the Academy. Then, while attending medical school, Bales started to run or bike the 10 miles to the campus in an effort to save money. Triathlons were next in the progression.

Bales plans to compete in several World Cup and Pan American Cup events this year to accumulate points for the Olympic Trials.

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