All of that headline is true. Lt. Pete Reed, an engineering officer and member of a gold medal rowing team at the London Games, did complete a perfect fitness test in Portsmouth.
But now for those pesky details:
Reed is a Brit, and an officer in the British Royal Navy.
But he did do the test in Portsmouth, but it was Portsmouth, England, not Portsmouth, Va., home of the giant naval hospital.
But he still aced the test. In fact, he scored an impressive 9:21 in the 1.5-mile run (that’s a perfect score by British standards, an “Outstanding” in American standards, a cut below the best). And in case you’re wondering how he scored on the pushups and sit-ups, don’t think too hard about it — the Royal Navy fitness test isn’t the combo of running, pushups and sit-ups you have come to know and love, but a single cardio test.
Like their American counterparts, they have a 1.5-mile run. But the Brits, as well as many other services from the English-speaking world, also have an alternative test — a shuttle run called a “beep” or “bleep” test. In that test, there are two sets of cones set up 20 meters apart. The organizer plays an official bleep CD and participants must run from cone to cone when signaled by a series of tones. But as the test continues, the time between the tones gets shorter and runners have less time to complete the lap. If they fall behind the tone, they’re out.
While the U.S. Navy is considering new exercises for the PRT, the bleep test isn’t in the running. The Navy is, however, considering a rowing test, and it’s pretty clear that whatever standard the service sets, Reed, who also earned a gold at the Beijing Games, would ace it.