Having Winter Olympic withdrawals? Fortunately, there’s a remedy for that. The fiercely competitive Paralympic Games will kick off in PyeongChang on March 8 and the U.S. is sending some terrific athletes.
One of these fierce competitors is Rico Roman, a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who was a member of the sled hockey team that won gold at Sochi in 2014.
Injuries sustained after hitting an improvised explosive device (IED) while in the Army means that Roman now competes with a prosthetic leg. But the journey from Army vet to Paralympic athlete doesn’t happen at the snap of a finger.
After being told about the sport of sled hockey by Operation Comfort, a group that helps wounded veterans, and playing for a year, Roman tried out for the 2010 U.S. national sled hockey team. His first shot at making the team was a miss — but in the words of Wayne Gretzky (and Michael Scott) “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
So Roman tried out again, this time, he scored. Roman was part of the gold-winning sled hockey team in Sochi and is poised to do it all again in PyeongChang.
Roman — a Team Toyota athlete along with Olympians Louie Vito, Chloe Kim and Gus Kenworthy — told AskMen that to get where you want to go, you have to set goals.
“The best advice I’ve been given is to have a goal, even the smallest of goals,” he said. “And when you reach that goal make a new one.”
He recounted a little story to highlight his point:
“I had an ice session, then went on a bike ride with my kids and after that I needed a break. My son asked me to play baseball with him and I told him I just need a little break. He then said to me, ‘That’s when you got to dig deep, Papi.’ So now when I’m not motivated, I hear my son’s little voice telling me to dig deep Papi.”
Roman tends to spend a lot of time digging deep. While training for the Paralympics, he does a lot of workouts focused on his arms, shoulders and core. After all, sled hockey is all about keeping your balance on two thin blades.
Whether an injury prevents you from using a leg, or you’re simply looking for a new workout at the gym, Roman’s workout is definitely one that’ll smoke you. Still, nothing compares to getting fit for the military.
“Being a Paralympian is tough and something I really am proud of, but nothing compares to training for the military. Working out is just part of it. But try it on no food and being wet and cold — or hot and thirsty — when you have 70 pounds on your back and you got 15 miles to go and no sleep.
Rico Roman’s Gold Medal Workout
1. Core Circuit (3 rounds)
– Plank 1 min.
– Toe-Touches 30 reps
– Medicine Ball Slams Above head to ground or wall 10 reps (Rico’s favorite)
2. Pushups (40-50 reps, 3 sets)
3. Pull-Ups (12 reps, 3 sets)