- United States
- Born: 1982
Omar Bermejo was born January 6, 1982, in Guadalajara, Mexico. He lived a life of poverty with his family, including 2 sisters. In 1995, amidst an environment of drug violence, corruption, and without a clear future in Mexico, Omar’s parents decided to leave everything behind, and migrate to the United States of America.
Five years after migrating to the United States, as a senior in high school, Omar was faced with 2 life-altering decisions. Omar desired to attend college, however his level of school proficiency, and the inability to afford higher education, left Omar with the following choices. Either join the workforce as an immigrant, or join the Military.
Omar decided to join the United States Marine Corps, and shipped out to boot camp two weeks after his High School Graduation.
The Marine Corps training was physically and mentally difficult. But after three months of grueling training, Omar became a United States Marine. Thankfully, his family was in attendance when he graduated, and the evidence of pride was clearly seen in all of their faces. He still remembers seeing their countenances of pride, and thrives on that to this very day.
In 2001, with a 2-year tenure in the Marines, Omar was in the final process of becoming a Naturalized U.S. Citizen. However, the process was muddled when the terrorist attacks of September 11th occurred. Omar and his fellow Marines, regardless of upbringing, culture, or nationality were ready to fight. This was the first time Omar felt patriotism to any country, and felt a greater purpose for his life.
After the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, Omar volunteered to be deployed to combat. He was in the initial wave that composed the support of “Operation Enduring Freedom.” He volunteered to stay once his first tour ended, for a total of 16 consecutive months “In Country” while in Combat operations. Omar was granted his first Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal for his efforts and became a Corporal. He was a leader among the Marines, and also became a Naturalized American Citizen.
In 2008, while riding his motorcycle back to Camp Pendleton, the weekend before Omar was going to attend his first high command military leadership courses, Omar lost control of his bike and crashed against a guard rail leaving him with the inability to use his right arm.
Everything had stopped for Omar, all of the training, deployments, and awards. While lying in a hospital bed with his family around him, he did not see glimpses of pride in their faces; he only saw sadness.
Omar spent two years trying to feel better. Finally, one day in early 2011, Omar decided to go for a long walk. 4 hours later, he found the more he walked, the better he felt. Walking became an everyday ritual and eventually turned into a run. Omar finally decided to have his arm amputated as the residual unusable right arm was getting in the way of him running faster. In early 2012, while in recovery from the amputation at the Veterans hospital, Omar began communicating with Paralympic Biathlon coaches from the Casper Mountain Biathlon Club. He was then invited to attend a Cross Country ski and biathlon camp in Lake Placid, New York.
Although, this was the first time Omar was ever on skis, the Paralymic Biathlon coaches noticed the natural inclination to the sport, as well as his precise rifle handling. After being offered the chance to take up biathlon, Omar jumped at this new purposeful opportunity, and left everything behind. With
only what he could fit in his truck, a pair of used skis and poles, he now claimed his brand-new purpose. He set his sights high, and with this new drive, he desired to become an elite biathlete, and compete in the 2014 Sochi Paralympics. And he only had 2 years to accomplish this feat!
In 2013, in his first season of biathlon racing, Omar raced well enough to earn a spot at his first Para-Biathlon World Cup. Omar went on to compete in the World Cup and in the middle-distance biathlon race, Omar “shot clean” and skied fast enough to earn a berth (by 10 seconds) at the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympics. His dream was now a reality!
After the 2013 season, Omar moved again to train full time, but this time under the tutelage of coaches from Maine Winter Sports Center in Caribou, Maine. Omar was also attending camps hosted by Casper Mountain Biathlon Club, where he met his future wife.
Omar competed at the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, where thousands of people lined the stands to watch the games; however the only spectators that mattered were his family. He recognized that familiar expression of pride again. Omar’s best race was the middle-distance Biathlon race where he skied to a top ten finish with the fastest and best shooting of all Paralympic biathletes.
After the 2014 Sochi Paralympics, Omar moved to Casper, Wyoming, to be closer to his girlfriend and train full time at the Casper Mountain Biathlon Club. He also became an athlete-coach. Omar went on to compete in the 2015 biathlon season, but due to “frozen lungs” from excessive training, he was forced to retire early.
Since retiring from biathlon, Omar has found tremendous success in the warmer sport of Triathlon. He recently became the US Paratriathlon National Champion in 2017, and is working to earn a spot on the US Paratriathlon team that will compete at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics. Omar’s goal is to become a winter and Summer Paralympian in two different sports. Omar now lives and trains in Casper, with his wife Lindsey, and his one-year old son Marcus.
Latest Athlete Results
|4||09 Mar, 2019 - PTS4 Men - 01:08:04|
|5||02 Mar, 2019 - PTS4 Men - 01:14:09|
|12||15 Sep, 2018 - PTS4 Men - 01:12:29|
|8||27 Jul, 2018 - PTS4 Men - 01:12:18|
|7||30 Jun, 2018 - PTS4 Men - 01:12:36|
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Athlete Fact Sheet
|Year of Birth||1982|
|Place of Birth||Guadalajara, Mexico|
|Coach||Ken Axford (Peak Multisport)|
|Sponsors||Team Semper Fi, Challenged Athletes Foundation|
|Hobbies||Podcasting, Woodworking, Dog Training, Ski-Joring|