Captain James Bales has been named Air Force Male Athlete of the Year for his accomplishments in the sport of triathlon. Captain Bales will next set his sights on the 2012 Olympic Games.
Captain Bales, 21st Force Support Squadron orthopedic surgeon currently on staff at the U.S. Air Force Academy Hospital, has been named U.S. Air Force Male Athlete of the Year for 2010.
He received the award at the annual Air Force Sports Directors Conference in San Diego in December.
Captain Bales is one of the military’s elite athletes who found his niche in triathlons – swimming, biking and running. Now, he is part of the two-year U.S.A.F. World Class Athlete Program, which allows him to train for the 2012 Olympic Trials and Olympic Games.
He started competing in triathlons after graduating from the USAF Academy in 2001, where he was a member of the varsity swimming team. First, it was Ironman Wisconsin in 2002; then, he raced annually in the Armed Forces Championship beginning in 2003; finally, he competed in the 2007 World Military Games and the 2008 Ironman World Championship – just to name a few.
On June 5, 2010 Captain Bales was one of 78 of the military’s top athletes who competed in the 2010 Armed Forces Triathlon at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, Calif. He completed a 1,500 meter swim, 40K bike and 10K run to win the event in a cool 1:46:32 (19:24 swim, 54:39 bike, 33:44 run plus transition times) and he won his first gold medal.
Captain Bales had the energy and stamina to compete, although he didn’t arrive at the competition until 13 hours before the start of the event because he was completing his five-year residency program at Wilford Hall Medical Center, an Air Force Level 1 Trauma Center at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.