Jason Sturm’s Old Glory Gym, opened July 11 in Ashburn, is not just another start-up in a region booming with athletic-related businesses.
It’s unique because of the man behind the dream.
Army veteran, amputee, CrossFit enthusiast, world champion bobsledder and owner of the newly christened Old Glory Gym, Jason Sturm is a man of many talents.
“Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears,” Sturm reads the tattoo emblazoned on his right forearm. He looks down towards his left leg, “It took me almost two years to learn how to do a parallel squat again and even now it’s hard for me not to look awkward.”
Sturm lost the lower part of his left leg during an Army training accident at Fort Drum, N.Y., when his unit was hit by two mis-aimed 105mm artillery shells. Two fellow soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division died, and 12 others were hurt by shrapnel.
Making light of the situation Sturm added, “When you play with bombs and bullets long enough, something is bound to happen.”
Undaunted by such a setback, Sturm went on to become a world champion bobsledder after placing second in a race in Igls, Austria, and first in St. Moritz, Switzerland. With no prior experience, Sturm’s amazement at his accomplishment surpassed even that of those watching.
After five practice runs in St. Moritz, Sturm proved he was a natural. In the race held on January 21, Sturm’s combined time over two heats was 0.04 seconds faster than a rival Latvian racer’s, winning him the gold.
“It was almost too much to take in,” Sturm said. “I showed up having never driven a bobsled. Nobody thought I would end up on the podium. I was just floored.”
Now the Vice Chairman of the board for Crossroads Adaptive Athletic Alliance and one of the head coaches for the seminar series, Sturm notes the potential in owning his own gym. “Eventually we’ll hold Adaptive Coaching seminars in here. Everything we’ve done here is in the hopes of bringing in adaptive athletes and coaches and mentoring them while running an open-to-all gym.”
More importantly, Sturm seeks to provide a gym that is more than a gym. “I want a community. I want people to come in here and not want to leave,” he says as he motions to the lounge area adjacent to the gym. A small bar, shower, TV’s, a couch and a large metallic version of Old Glory Gym’s logo make up what is currently an ongoing project. “After people workout, they will always have the option of staying around to enjoy a sports game and have a bite to eat,” he said.
Old Glory’s logo is Sturm’s take on his Army unit’s badge. What is now a barrel-shaped American flag crossed by two bench press bars was once a powder keg crossed with two swords. Where it now says “Old Glory” it once said “Mountain”.
“Though it is a part of it, I didn’t just choose our logo because it’s very American or because I’m a proud civilian; it represents the struggle to overcome and the pride we should have in ourselves. We want people to be proud of who they are and have pride in what they’re doing, and my intention is to foster that,” Sturm said.
The gym enjoyed a successful opening day with over 30 members visiting and joining by noon. Sturm hopes to see a large influx in membership with the gym’s upcoming CrossFit certification.
Old Glory Gym is up and running in suite 211 on Guilford Drive in Ashburn.