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Sahin’s world championship dream endures long winding road to Denmark 090828
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PHOTO CAPTION: U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program Greco-Roman wrestler Spc. Faruk Sahin, a native of Ankara, Turkey, will represent the Stars & Stripes for Team USA at the 2009 World Wrestling Championships, scheduled for Sept. 21-27 in Herning, Denmark. "It’s unbelievable how proud I am to come to the U.S. and represent the U.S. Army on the U.S. National Team as a Turkish-American" Sahin said.
(Photo by Tim Hipps, FMWRC Public Affairs)

Sahin’s world championship dream endures long winding road to Denmark 090828

By Tim Hipps
FMWRC Public Affairs

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Army Spc. Faruk Sahin probably will represent more groups than any Team USA wrestler when he steps onto the mat at the 2009 World Wrestling Championships, scheduled for Sept. 21-27 in Herning, Denmark

Along with the United States, where Sahin attained citizenship in 2004, he will represent the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, based at Fort Carson, Colo.

A native of Ankara, Turkey, he will wrestle with skills developed as a two-time Turkish junior national champion before moving to Colorado Springs, Colo.

A former college professor, he will represent educators worldwide.

After serving a two-year suspension from USA Wrestling for testing positive for a banned stimulant after winning his weight class at the 2004 U.S. National Wrestling Championships, Sahin will represent athletes who have overcome punishment from the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

After undergoing back-to-back surgeries to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and his thumb, Sahin will represent comeback athletes of another variety.

Even more personally significant than representing his cultural heritage, Sahin will wrestle for his 5-month-old son.

And, quite naturally, Sahin, 33, will seek to fulfill his dream of winning a world championship.

“I am so happy just winning here at Nationals,” he said after defeating defending national champion Mark Rial of Gator Wrestling Club to win the 145.5-pound Greco division of the 2009 U.S. National Wrestling Championships on April 10 in Las Vegas. “It’s all about continuing to dream. I’m following my dream and I love it.

“My dream was to go to Denmark.”

Sahin said leaving his newborn son, Akif Nelson Sahin, at home was the toughest part of national championships week. After getting his hand raised to signify him a champion, Sahin pulled a tiny bootie from his singlet and made a rocking-the-baby gesture to the crowd at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“At the airport, I said, ‘Son, I know I cannot take you with me, but I’m taking your sock,’” Sahin explained. “I just grabbed it because for the last 10 days I’ve being doing a lot of changing the diaper and taking care of him, so I put his sock inside my singlet.”

Had his wife, Amanda, not urged him to go, Sahin said he might have bypassed the trip.

“I told him, ‘Son, I’m going to bring you a medal. Don’t worry – you’ll be the son of a champion.’”

Sahin punched his ticket to Herning on May 31 by manhandling Rial in two straight matches of their best-of-three series at the 2009 USA Wrestling World Team Trials in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

“USA!” Sahin exclaimed as he was introduced to reporters inside the Mid-America Center. “I’ve been in the finals how many times I don’t know, but I’ve never made the world team or an Olympic team. This is a good start. I’m still recovering from two injuries and I wasn’t ready for this tournament, but with good coaching, I plan to go get the gold at the worlds.

“Three doctors told me I would be ready to wrestle in June,” he said. “I had to beg them to let me wrestle at nationals. I was joking with my friends today before the final that I was 69 percent ready. By the time we get to the world championships, I’ve got to be 120 percent. We’ve got to double it up.

“Now I have to go back home, kiss the wife and baby, and start practicing right away because I don’t have very much time to get ready. I don’t want to talk too much about it. Main thing: stop talking, start working.”

Sahin’s long journey to earn a spot on Team USA began when he moved in 2000 from Turkey to Colorado Springs, Colo. He became a member of the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program in November of 2003 and attained U.S. citizenship in February of 2004.

“Everybody’s dream is to come to the U.S., where the new land is,” Sahin said. “When I came here at first I didn’t think I was going to stay. I was teaching over there at the university and I had a great job and everything. When I came here, I had no relatives with me, but I love this country, and I decided on my own to stay.”

Sahin quit his job and stopped wrestling. At that time, he said he simply “wanted to pursue my life.” It wasn’t long, however, before Sahin was back on the mat. On April 10, he won his weight class at the 2004 U.S. National Wrestling Championships.

“Since I joined the Army I’ve been waking up early and training hard,” Sahin said that day in Las Vegas. “Now I’m chasing my Olympic dream.”

Those dreams, however, were put on hold when the USADA announced the decision by an independent three-member arbitration panel from the American Arbitration Association/North American Court of Arbitration for Sport to impose a two-year suspension for Sahin’s first-time doping violation for the use of phentermine, a prohibited substance under the rules of the Federation Internationale des Luttes Associates, the international federation for the sport of wrestling.

USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic Committee concurred, and Sahin accepted and began serving the suspension on May 18, 2004. He also was released from WCAP and returned to his Army unit.

Years of hard work and dedication were required for Sahin to get reinstated in WCAP and wrestle back into world championship contention.

“We are human,” Sahin said. “We all have ups and downs, but we have to learn from our experience to get back and go through the struggle and get on top. I thank God for helping me get through all this. And coming back to WCAP again, I have a great coaching staff, commander and first sergeant – everybody from Washington – Mr. Willie Wilson. Everybody is supporting us big-time. There is no excuse for us to not win.”

“The substance had something to do with losing water weight,” said Wilson, who directs the Army World Class Athlete Program from the Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation Command in Alexandria. “It wasn’t a controlled substance that would have caused him legal issues. He tested positive for a substance banned by the United States Olympic Committee, not an illegal substance.

“He was only allowed to reapply for WCAP after he reestablished himself as a Soldier,” Wilson said. “We received a glowing letter of recommendation from his chain of command, and based on his performance as a Soldier, we gave him an opportunity to serve in WCAP again to pursue his Olympic dream.

“Since he came back, the commander and first sergeant have had nothing but glowing comments about him. He is performing very well not only as an athlete, but as a Soldier.”

WCAP wrestling coach Staff Sgt. Shon Lewis felt obligated to help Sahin salvage his life in America.

“The Black and Gold Army wrestling team is bigger than just wrestling,” Lewis said. “I wasn’t really even thinking much about having him back on the team, I was just thinking about helping a family member out – getting him back in the program and making sure that he’s alright. He’s been a great Soldier. The bonus was that he’s a great wrestler.

“He’s definitely had some obstacles, and he’s definitely had to grind it out.”

Along the way, Sahin overcame more than his share of doubt.

“After the 2006 Nationals, I quit wrestling,” he said. “And then my coach got me back in the program. He said, ‘Faruk, I’ve got your orders.’ And I said, ‘Wow, another chance for me,’ and I got back with the program. Coach Lewis is a great sport.

“If WCAP wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be here. Some people have to carry the rucksack, and we have to battle here to win the gold for the Army. I was also thinking about Soldiers overseas.

“I have to say thanks to my teammates for pulling me all the way through,” Sahin said. “And thanks to the World Class Athlete Program coaches and commanders, too.”

Sahin thinks he will wrestle better on the world stage in September.

“I believe I wrestle better overseas than here because we know each other,” he said. “Now we can wrestle smart and get tough and be united and become one team.”

Sahin must keep working to complete the mission.

“This is probably the most sound I’ve seen Faruk wrestle from start to finish,” Lewis said at the World Team Trials. “Usually, in these tournaments, he has some type of lapse. He did pretty well in Vegas, too, so he’s had back-to-back tournaments where he’s been sound. That’s encouraging, but we still have a lot of work to do before we get to Denmark for the World Championships.”

Sahin is game for the task.

“It’s unbelievable how proud I am to come to the U.S. and represent the U.S. Army on the U.S. National Team as a Turkish-American,” he said. “You don’t see many of them around. I love it. I’m just living my dream right now.”

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Jogging around the reservoir #1
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Image by Ed Yourdon
View On Black

Central Park, south end – 004

Between roughly 86th Street and 90th Street, the inner-loop roadway runs parallel to one side of the Central Park reservoir; and just to the east of the roadway is a bridle path, where you’ll occasionally encounter New Yorkers determined to ride their horses … so, when walking along the bridle path, looking east (with Fifth Avenue and the Upper East Side in the background), you frequently see scenes like this one, as joggers go hurtling past…

Note: this photo was published in a Nov 24, 2008 blog titled "The Secret to Long-Term Weight Loss." It was also published in a Dec 2, 2009 blog titled "Partecipa alla prima geekrun." It was also published in a Nov 28, 2010 Weight Loss Helps blog titled "Q&A: READ: This is the new fashion statement!?"

The photo was also published in a Jan 7, 2011 blog titled "Best Weight Loss Secrets – Lose Weight Happily by Eating Delicious Foods." And it was published in a Jan 19, 2011 blog titled "Exciting Online Weight-Loss Help." It was also published in a Feb 4, 2011 Child Lose Weight blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it published in a Mar 22, 2011 blog titled "Couch to 5K in Miami." And it was published in a May 8, 2011 blog titled "PEDOMETER FASHION TIPS," as well as an Aug 12, 2011 blog titled "Die Playlist für Ihr perfektes Laufvergnügen." It was also published in a Sep 7, 2011 blog titled "Running and jogging in Vancouver," even though it obviously has nothing to do with Vancouver. And it was published in a Sep 22, 2011 blog titled "Write Now: Writing and Running," and a Sep 23, 2011 blog titled "Running Programs for Any Level." It was also published in a Sep 30, 2011 blog titled "Want To Improve Your Productivity? Workout at Work." And it was published in a Nov 7, 2011 blog titled "Mexican Meals, Finest Picks," as well as a Nov 6, 2011 "777 Sports – Sport Life, Healthy Eating and More" blog titled "Jogging."

Moving into 2012, the photo was published in a Feb 7,2012 blog titled "How can I quit, keep raw meals diet regime to lose weight?" And it was published in a Mar 3, 2012 blog titled "Conseil pour les indolence," as well as a Mar 7, 2012 blog titled "L1: Exchanging Privacy for Other Perks: Quantified Selfers Get It [Infographic]." It was also published in a May 7, 2012 blog titled "Start Jogging To Lose Weight; Keep It Up To Live Longer." And it was published in a Jun 3, 2012 blog titled "How to Run to Lose Weight Effectively." It was also published in a Jun 6, 2012 Polish blog titled "Średnie prędkości." I have absolutely no idea what any of it means. And it was published in a Jul 23, 2012 bog titled "Keeping Fit Without Becoming Broke." It was also published in an undated (early Aug 2012) National Kidney Foundation blog titled "PREVENTING POST-TRANSPLANT WEIGHT GAIN: KICK-START HEALTHY HABITS THIS SUMMER." It was also published in an Oct 4, 2012 blog titled "Weight Loss Myths Busted Again by Our Bakery Nutrition Expert." And it was published in a Dec 6, 2012 blog titled 5年後も今と同じ体型でいたいなら、はじめよう「iPhoneダイエット at d-dot-hatena-dot-ne-dot-jp/spring_mao/20121206/1354794477

Moving into 2013, the photo was published in a Jan 14, 2013 issue of "The Frugal Mom blog, with the same caption and detailed notes that I had written on this Flickr page. And it was published in a Jan 15, 2013 blog titled "限界分析の原理 「ちょうど」の考え方その1." It was also published in a Jan 24, 2013 blog titled "Being Skinny is Not a Christian Virtue." And it was published in a Feb 21, 2013 blog titled "Is there a good replacement for Cable Crossovers?" It was also published in an Aug 15, 2013 blog titled "Is Your Diet Healthy? 7 Key Questions to Ask."

Moving into 2014, the photo was published in a Feb 20, 2014 blog titled "Too busy to work out? 6 ways to get your exercise in when life gets crazy." And it was published in a Mar 27, 2014 blog titled "How to Return to Running After an Injury." It was also published in an Apr 8, 2014 blog titled "Why Training on the Surface You Are Going to Race on Matters." It was also published in an Aug 11, 2014 blog titled "Think Dropbox Isn’t Serious About the Enterprise? Think Again."

Moving into 2015, the photo was published in a Jan 19, 2015 blog titled "How Your Diet Can Improve (or Ruin) Your Energy: Here’s How to Improve Yours." And it was published in a Jan 27, 2015 blog titled "The Best Time Of Day To Work Out To Lose Weight." It was also published in a Feb 9, 2015 Scientific American blog titled "Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: America’s Greatest Health Risk of 2015?"


These pictures were taken during a 3-hour Labor Day stroll through Central Park — starting on the west side of the park at 96th Street, and walking around the south end, and back up the east side to 72nd Street.

It was a warm, sunny day, and there were people everywhere — bicycling, skating, walking, picnicking, sunbathing, frisbee-throwing … and even getting married. It appears that everyone was enjoying themselves, on this final day of the summer season in New York City…

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Photomontage of Overview of the south hangar, including B-29 “Enola Gay” and Concorde
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Image by Chris Devers

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