MacDill Olympian earns AMC's Athlete of the Year

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Killian
  • 6th Air Refueling Wing

Air Mobility Command announced a recent Ms. Olympia competitor, U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Evon Pennington, a public health technician assigned to the 6th Medical Group, is AMC's female Athlete of the Year.

“At the age of ten I remember watching the Olympics for track and field,” said Pennington. “From then on, I knew internally that I was meant to be an Olympian. I wasn't sure how I was going to get there, but I truly believed that this was more than just an aspiration or a dream.”

Pennington competed in two bodybuilding shows before making it to Ms. Olympia, the female version of Mr. Olympia. Mr. and Ms. Olympia are the largest bodybuilding competitions in the world and is where many famous bodybuilders including Arnold Schwarzenegger have completed.

She’s been an athlete most of her life, starting first with track and field and then transitioning to bodybuilding in 2014 when she cross-trained in her current job in public health.

“Winning this award hits home because my journey started when I had a supervisor who enforced the standard of setting an attainable personal goal,” she said.

The journey hasn't been easy for Pennington. Being a professional bodybuilder is a 24/7 commitment. Maintaining this level of physical activity consistently is a monumental achievement.

“The biggest struggle for this sport is the inability to see your progress and going after a goal you don’t believe you can reach,” she said. “I got addicted to seeing myself grow; I loved the journey and the routine of holding myself accountable and striving for my goals.”

To prepare for upcoming competitions, Pennington follows the daily grind of adhering to a strict diet and training schedule, where every meal and second are calculated.

“You have to start with honesty. You have to be honest about what you eat, how much you weigh and being able to make sacrifices,” she said. “If you’re preparing for a show, that might mean you can’t go out with your friends on a weekend … that’s just the sacrifice you make if you want to be great.”

Her goals do not end here. Pennington has expressed goals of winning Air Force athlete of the year and going back to Ms. Olympia and placing higher or even winning the title.

“Aiming for the stars and landing on the clouds is a good mindset to have because you’ll always be proud of your journey no matter where you land,” she added.

Pennington hopes that the example she sets inspires others to chase after their goals and conquer their fears.

“The message I'd like to send to all Airmen is to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself to set small, measurable goals,” she said. “Being well rounded is how you become a better professional.”