When San Diego resident John Nunn participates in the opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics, he won’t just be representing Amrica — he’ll be representing the U.S. Army.
Nunn, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army Reserves, will compete in the 50 kilometer race-walk this summer in Rio de Janeiro. It will be his third visit to the prestigious Summer Games.[contextly_sidebar id=”ENtyHWZoJFf8Ss28fn6agP6PqsQYVkxm”]Nunn’s journey into the sport started as a high school student in Evansville, Indiana, when he competed with the cross country team.
“I was offered a full ride scholarship by a coach at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside to race walk based off of my running times,” said Nunn, who also participates in the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. “I honestly thought he was joking. Upon further investigation, I realized that this was a real event in track and field and I could get my college paid for if I was willing to race walk. I decided to take the scholarship and never would have imagined that it would take me all over the world and to three Olympics.”
Now, Nunn, 38, is headed to South America to compete on behalf of the U.S. despite the challenges he faced getting there.
Nunn, who qualified for the Olympics after competing in the trials in Santee, said he caught the flu just two days before the competition.
“I had to figure out a way to overcome it and still race the 31 miles that I needed to,” said Nunn who has been in the Army Reserves since 2005. “I won that race under the time standard and secured my spot on the Olympic Team for Rio.”
In order to place at the Olympics, Nunn said he’s been very focused on his training over the past six months. In fact, he race walks more than 100 miles per week.
So, who inspires Nunn as he prepares for the Olympics? It’s his daughter, Ella.
“She is my life,” said Nunn of his daughter who will join him in Rio de Janeiro. “I strive to work hard in all that I do. I want to show Ella that you can accomplish whatever you put your mind to and go after. She is a huge inspiration to me.”
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