Rowing for London

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Bryan Crane
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The Air Force Global Strike Command American300 "Never Quit" Rowing Challenge began April 5 at the Whiteman Air Force Base Fitness Center. Col. Robert Spalding III, 509th Bomb Wing vice commander, kicked of the monthlong challenge by rowing the first 500 meters.

On March 28, 2012, Robi Powers, American300 founder, introduced the challenge at Whiteman AFB along with Dan Beery, 2004 Olympic Rowing Gold Medalist and Sean Colgan, 1980 Olympic Rowing team member.

"At American300 we are all about bringing individuals who are walking, talking, breathing billboards of perseverance, of resiliency, of four-wheel drive, lean forward can-do attitude and sharing them with the troops," said Powers.

Dan Beery was faced with disappointment after a knee injury ended his division one college basketball career. However, Beery persevered by taking over a new sport he had never tried and became an Olympic gold medalist in rowing.

"I understand a lot of the time these troops get tasked with things they were never trained to do but they have to go out there and do it to the best of their ability," Beery said. "I feel like I can relate to them and help motivate after my experience of switching sports and eventually succeeding."

Sean Colgan has also faced adversity when he was selected to join the 1980 Olympic rowing team only to have the U.S. boycott the Olympic Games that year. Colgan took it upon himself to organize two competitions in which the U.S. rowing team won both.

"My experience with the 1980 U.S. Olympic games boycott has only helped me out in the long run," Colgan said. "I came here to show these Airmen that even when you get kicked down, you can always get back up and accomplish your goals."

The Rowing Challenge links the AFGSC American300 "Never Quit" series with the 2012 Summer Olympics in London by challenging Airmen to row a cumulative total of 5,900 kilometers between all the bases - the distance between Washington, D.C. and London.

Any personnel (including dependents) assigned to AFGSC may participate in the rowing however, only active duty Airmen assigned to AFGSC are eligible to win prizes. Members of the fitness center are not eligible for the grand prize.

The AFGSC Airman with the overall farthest distance rowed will travel to London with the American300 team in July with all expenses paid. The base with the overall farthest distance rowed will receive $50,000 in quality of life funds and U.S. Olympic Rowing Team gear will be awarded to Airmen as individual prizes.