Airman earns AF Athlete of the Year title

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mike Tryon
  • 90th Missile Wing Public Affairs
Becoming the Air Force Athlete of the Year is no easy feat. It takes a lot of determination and dedication to achieve this status.

This year's Air Force male athlete of the year is Capt. Ian Holt, squadron command post missile combat crew commander for the 319th Missile Squadron.

Captain Holt said it was great to have his dedication and sacrifices recognized.

"Many times I won't be satisfied with awards because I always see the next step higher, but being selected as the athlete of the year is the top step of the podium," Captain Holt said.

He added that he has been active in sports most of his life. He said he started playing soccer when he was 5 or 6.

He grew up watching his sister compete as a cycling track sprinter, he said. It wasn't until he was a freshman at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo., that he started cycling competitively.

"It takes a real commitment to be truly dedicated to cycling," Captain Holt said.
Things such as dieting, mental strain, life style changes and even some financial sacrifices are made along the way to get where he wants to be, he added.

Cycling is a great mental and physical sport that he enjoys doing, Captain Holt said. He added, there are many hardships that go into any sport, but when he's training up to 30 hours a week for an event, it takes something more than just energy out of his body.
"With the ops tempo as high as it is, finding time to train can be difficult," Captain Holt said.

Capt. Rodney Ellison, 90th Missile Wing, said he has worked out with Holt on occasion.

"His work-outs are intense," Captain Ellison said. "He does a routine tailored to those
needing stamina, endurance and explosiveness."

"Everyone expects to hear that Lance Armstrong is my motivational model for cycling, and starting out, that was true," Captain Holt said. He said he looks mainly at himself now for motivation, and once he loses that self drive, he'll know it's time to move on.

Many cyclists would say that winning the Tour de France is the pinnacle, however, not so for him, Captain Holt said. For him, representing the United States in the Olympics is the ultimate dream in his cycling career.

"As long as I can keep improving and keep the internal fire to compete, I will try to reach the highest level," he said.

Participating in the world class athlete program for a year leading up to the 2008 Olympics was priceless, he said. Living and training in Europe, which is the grand stage for cycling, was incredible, he added.

"International cycling races are fun," Captain Holt said.

"Racing with the U.S. armed forces team at the military world championships is always extra special because it's not about money or contracts," he added. "It's about the pride of representing the United States and trying to be the best in the world."

"Getting into competitive sports is easy," Captain Holt said. "Just jump into one. It's not necessary to be at the top of a sport to have fun either. Just remember that it takes determination and dedication to get to athlete of the year."