- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 8, 2003

Anthony DeBarros rides his mountain bike and runs over rough terrain near his Fort Washington home at least five days a week.
The 38-year-old Cape Verde islands native, who is a corporal with the Prince George's County police force, is training for the 2004 Olympics in Athens when he's not busy chasing down criminals.
He hopes his regimen will earn him a spot on the first Cape Verde islands mountain-bike team.
"I want it bad. I have so much passion for riding a bike, especially a mountain bike," Cpl. DeBarros says. "I never took it seriously until I was 36 years old, when I made up my mind that this is what I want to do."
His parents, Sal and Gada DeBarros, crossed the Atlantic in 1978 with their five sons and settled in the Pumpkin Hill neighborhood of Laurel. Cpl. DeBarros, the second-to-oldest son, was 13 at the time.
He attended Potomac Senior High School in Oxon Hill, graduating in 1983. Two years after graduating, he became a professional boxer and was managed by Angelo Dundee, the famed trainer who worked with Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard, among others. In 1988, he married his high school sweetheart, the former Katherine Singletary, who is a police officer first class on the county force.
Cpl. DeBarros quit boxing in 1992 for personal reasons and embarked on a long-distance running career.
"It was then that I wanted to represent Cape Verde in the Olympics," Cpl. DeBarros says.
He began training and racing competitively. In March 1994 he completed the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach in two hours and 37 minutes, averaging six-minute miles.
He took 10th place and was selected to try out for the Cape Verde Olympic marathon team headed for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
"That was the first Olympics that my country was involved in," says Cpl. DeBarros, who had begun his career as a Prince George's County police officer in December 1994.
Although he did not qualify for the Olympic team because of injuries, including shinsplints, he continued running for the next few years.
"In the career that I'm in now, it is essential that you take care of your body as far as conditioning yourself," he says. "You never know what might happen, like you'll have to pursue someone on foot. This job is unpredictable, and every officer should be conditioning himself to be prepared for any encounters that might occur, like a fight or chasing somebody down."
He was watching a mountain-bike competition one day in 2000 and found himself unimpressed with a Kenyan competitor.
"He did terrible, and that inspired me," Cpl. DeBarros says. "Here's a guy with limited skills on his bike. Ever since that time, I said to myself, 'That's what I want to do.'"
Since then, Cpl. DeBarros has run 10 miles a day five or six days a week, and during the winter he rides a stationary bike indoors one hour a day five days a week.
"Once the weather breaks, then I'll cut back on the running and do full mountain biking, about nine to 10 hours every week," he says, estimating that schedule will begin next month or in April.
These days, the father of two daughters and a son is waiting patiently for diplomats and Olympic representatives to approve mountain biking as a sport in the Games.
Cpl. DeBarros, who stands 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 140 pounds, says his training has benefited his job performance.
One night last October, while on patrol in Hyattsville, he helped stop the driver of a suspected stolen vehicle on Riggs Road. The two occupants of the car fled after they were stopped. Cpl. DeBarros gave chase, relying on combined experience from his Olympic and police training.
"I didn't give up. They'll try you. If they run from me, I'll do everything I can in my ability to catch them," Cpl. DeBarros says. "He got away for about three blocks, three football fields, and then I apprehended him. I tackled him and cuffed him; no problem."
He says his desire to become a police officer sprang from the desire to help, work with and protect people. He says he loves being the first officer to arrive at a scene.
Cpl. DeBarros says he will continue to train and work because he has a lot to do to bring home the gold.
"I've made up my mind that this is what I want to do. The world-class division is very competitive. Those guys on the mountain bikes are good. I've still got a way to go."

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