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Headquarters Marine Corps

Headquarters Marine Corps News
Wounded Warriors compete in biggest Warrior Games ever

By Sgt. Tyler Main | Headquarters Marine Corps | May 13, 2013

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Britain's Prince Harry and emcee U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Joshua Miles salute during the playing of the national athems at the 2013 Warrior Games opening ceremony at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11-17.  U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy, wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

Britain's Prince Harry and emcee U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Joshua Miles salute during the playing of the national athems at the 2013 Warrior Games opening ceremony at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11-17. U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy, wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup. (Photo by EJ Hersom)


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Wounded, ill and injured service member's from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy/Coast Guard and SOCOM showcased their athletic abilities during a heated seated volleyball match against Prince Harry and the British team. For the All-Marine team the Games provides opportunities for them to train as athletes, while increasing their strength so they can continue with military service or develop healthy habits for life outside the service. The forth annual Warrior Games will be held at the Olympic Training Center and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-16.  Athletes will have a chance to compete in swimming, track and field, volleyball, wheelchair basketball, cycling, shooting and archery.  The All-Marine team will defend their first place title against the Army, Navy /Coast Guard, Air Force and SOCOM.

Wounded, ill and injured service member's from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy/Coast Guard and SOCOM showcased their athletic abilities during a heated seated volleyball match against Prince Harry and the British team. For the All-Marine team the Games provides opportunities for them to train as athletes, while increasing their strength so they can continue with military service or develop healthy habits for life outside the service. The forth annual Warrior Games will be held at the Olympic Training Center and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-16. Athletes will have a chance to compete in swimming, track and field, volleyball, wheelchair basketball, cycling, shooting and archery. The All-Marine team will defend their first place title against the Army, Navy /Coast Guard, Air Force and SOCOM. (Photo by Aquita Brown)


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Retired Marine Capt. Richard Rush fires a shot in the 10mm air pistol event of the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 13, 2013.

Retired Marine Capt. Richard Rush fires a shot in the 10mm air pistol event of the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 13, 2013. (Photo by EJ Hersom)


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Cpl. Marcus Chischilly with Wounded Warrior Battalion West, checks his gear before moving to the starting line of the 10k hand-cycle race during the 2013 Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy. 24-year-old Chischilly from Phoenix, competed in both the hand-cycling and the Marine Corps versus Navy basketball game today. The team of 50 Marines defending champions will compete in several events during the Games including wheelchair basketball, archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball and track and field. They will defend their championship against the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Special Operations Command and the British Armed Forces.

Cpl. Marcus Chischilly with Wounded Warrior Battalion West, checks his gear before moving to the starting line of the 10k hand-cycle race during the 2013 Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy. 24-year-old Chischilly from Phoenix, competed in both the hand-cycling and the Marine Corps versus Navy basketball game today. The team of 50 Marines defending champions will compete in several events during the Games including wheelchair basketball, archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball and track and field. They will defend their championship against the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Special Operations Command and the British Armed Forces. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Corey Dabney)


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Cpl. Jorge Salazar, from Delano, Calif., participates in a scrimmage against Prince Harry and the British team. For the All-Marine team the Games provides opportunities for them to train as athletes, while increasing their strength so they can continue with military service or develop healthy habits for life outside the service. The forth annual Warrior Games will be held at the Olympic Training Center and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-16.  Athletes will have a chance to compete in swimming, track and field, volleyball, wheelchair basketball, cycling, shooting and archery.  The All-Marine team will defend their first place title against the Army, Navy /Coast Guard, Air Force and SOCOM.

Cpl. Jorge Salazar, from Delano, Calif., participates in a scrimmage against Prince Harry and the British team. For the All-Marine team the Games provides opportunities for them to train as athletes, while increasing their strength so they can continue with military service or develop healthy habits for life outside the service. The forth annual Warrior Games will be held at the Olympic Training Center and Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10-16. Athletes will have a chance to compete in swimming, track and field, volleyball, wheelchair basketball, cycling, shooting and archery. The All-Marine team will defend their first place title against the Army, Navy /Coast Guard, Air Force and SOCOM. (Photo by Aquita Brown)


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Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos congratulates Staff Sgt. Ronnie Jimenez, with Wounded Warrior Battalion West, as he finished 10k hand-cycle race during the 2013 Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy. 35-year-old Jimenez from Tempe, Ariz., won the first gold medal in the 2013 Warrior Games setting the Marines on the path to defending their championship. The team of 50 Marines and defending champions will compete in several events during the Games including wheelchair basketball, archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball and track and field. They will defend their championship against the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Special Operations Command and the BritishArmed Forces.

Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos congratulates Staff Sgt. Ronnie Jimenez, with Wounded Warrior Battalion West, as he finished 10k hand-cycle race during the 2013 Warrior Games at the Air Force Academy. 35-year-old Jimenez from Tempe, Ariz., won the first gold medal in the 2013 Warrior Games setting the Marines on the path to defending their championship. The team of 50 Marines and defending champions will compete in several events during the Games including wheelchair basketball, archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball and track and field. They will defend their championship against the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Special Operations Command and the BritishArmed Forces. (Photo by Lance Cpl. Corey Dabney)


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Marine Corporal Michael Politowicx leads a pack of racers during the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 12, 2013.

Marine Corporal Michael Politowicx leads a pack of racers during the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 12, 2013. (Photo by EJ Hersom)


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Marine Sgt. Brian McPherson reacts to winning gold in the Men's Bicyle Open event of the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 12.

Marine Sgt. Brian McPherson reacts to winning gold in the Men's Bicyle Open event of the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 12. (Photo by EJ Hersom)


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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- More than 200 wounded military athletes have converged at the Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy here to compete in the annual Warrior Games May 10–17. 

Some will be doing so in spite of severe injuries: swimming with just one limb and sprinting without sight. These warrior athletes are all recovering from illness, wounds or injuries sustained on or off the battlefield. They’re from all branches services as well as the United Kingdom.

The Warrior Games gives these men and women the opportunity to compete in archery, shooting, track and field, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, cycling and swimming. The games also give them the opportunity to heal each other by spending time with those in similar life situations. 

Their effort is inspiring to spectators too and as a result the games inspire more people every year.

“When you launch something like this you can see how many people truly want to get involved and get behind it and support and you can see this growth over the years. You name it people want to get involved, they want to know, ‘how can I help?’” said Beth Bourgeois, U.S. Olympic Committee Public Relations.

More than 1,000 people volunteered to provide support for the event, doing everything from filling water bottles to helping officiate sports.

This year’s competition has attracted more than 400 media members from around the world so the events will get broad coverage, something that many of the athletes said is good because people will better understand what motivates wounded warriors and the healing process they’re going through.

“People like to see and hear success stories and hear about others overcoming odds, becoming successful and enjoying life,” Bourgeois said.

Therapy through competitive sports wasn’t always available for these warriors, nor were many symptoms and treatments of their various ailments understood. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder wasn’t recognized as a clinical condition until 1980, Vietnam era services didn’t have specific units like the Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment and the Army’s Warrior Transition Command and the Warrior Games were only established in 2010.

Now, the athletes not only get to compete, they also receive other training and therapeutic assistance. They receive on-site training from professional coaches and treatment from massage therapists and physical therapists. They have a rigorous training schedule during the days prior to competition and a recovery schedule for the evenings. For one week, they are basically like Olympic athletes.

It takes work to get to the Warrior Games though. Hundreds of athletes attend service specific “trials” to compete for a spot on their braches’ Warrior Games team. During the Marine Corps Trials, seven countries attended. But only a maximum of 50 for each service are selected to compete at the next level, sometimes less.

Since the athletes represent their military branch in the games, they take competition days pretty seriously. The Marines don’t want to be beaten by the Army, the Navy wants to outswim the Air Force and so on. Bragging rights are pretty valuable here. 

But it’s more than that. The competitors say at the end of the day, they value the shared camaraderie with the other athletes, irrespective of service.

“Not everyone who comes out and tries a sport is going to be a Paralympian, that’s not our goal,” Bourgeois said. “It’s to help provide training, expertise and link people with programs where they can go play wheelchair basketball or get on a track in their hometown community.”

However, athletes have the opportunity to compete at the next level. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a training stipend for veteran athletes who prove they can make an impact at the Paralympic games.

For most athletes though, it’s a couple weeks that allows them to forget about their disabilities as much as possible and just focus on competing, enjoying camaraderie and making good memories.

To see the complete competition schedule, visit: http://www.teamusa.org/US-Paralympics/Military/Warrior-Games-presented-by-Deloitte/Competition-Schedules.aspx


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