Marines Seek Repeat Win at 2013 Warrior Games
By Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Heidi Agostini
Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 12, 2013 If the 2013 Warrior Games had a more regal feel than previous games, it’s because Prince Harry, or Capt. Henry Wales, attended the opening ceremony yesterday at the Olympic Training Center here.
Prince Harry applauds the Silent Drill Platoon from Marine Barracks Washington, while they perform at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. The platoon performed following the opening ceremony of the 2013 Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style competition where more than 260 wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans will compete for gold in archery, swimming, wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, track and field and cycling. The Warrior Games give participants an opportunity to fine-tune their athletic skills, strengthen their bodies and support each other through their recovery process. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Scott Reel
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
The British royal joined more than 260 wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans in kicking off the Warrior Games, a Paralympic-style competition that’s been dominated by the Marine team since the event began in 2010.
Athletes from all U.S. military services will compete with more than 35 service members and veterans from the British armed forces.
U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder, who competed in the 2012 Warrior Games and went off to win a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympics, lit the ceremonial cauldron to start the this year’ Warrior Games. Snyder was injured while deployed to Afghanistan in September 2011.
The 50-strong Marine team arrived in Colorado, looking to further continue its winning ways and holding onto the Chairman’s Cup, lightheartedly known as the “Commandant’s Cup” since the Marine team keeps winning. Marine Corps Maj. Jonathan Disbro held the Ultimate Champion title in 2011 and 2012. This year, nine athletes will compete for the title of Ultimate Champion, a pentathlon-style event.
The athletes will compete in archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field and sitting volleyball. Athlete’s injuries and illnesses vary from amputations, spinal cord injuries, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The Warrior Games’ mission is to elevate wounded, ill and injured service member’s abilities through athletic competition and to foster healthy competition between all branches of military service, both national and international.
Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, spoke during the opening ceremony and said he and his wife look forward to the competition every year.
“Our nation’s wounded, ill and injured are very special people to us, and this is the highlight of our year, every year,” Winnefeld said. “You warriors are the best of the best. You’re here because of your willingness to overcome challenges of illness, injury -- both seen and unseen, coupled with the challenges that any superior athlete must overcome and achieve in greatness.
“Your heroism and determination are an inspiration,” the admiral continued. “Whenever I’m having a bad day or I’m facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I just think of you, and my day becomes a very nice day.”
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos and his wife, Bonnie, met with the All-Marine Warrior Games team following the opening ceremony. The Amos’ have long been supporters of the Warrior Games and encourage their Marines to dominate again for the fourth year in a row.
“I’m reminded of last year, and the year before when we rolled out here and watched the Marines,” Amos said. “We walked out of there last year and the chief of Army pulled me aside and said, ‘That’s the last time the Marines are gonna win.’ I just looked at him and laughed.”
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett provided a few, yet motivating, words for his Marine athletes.
“There will be a four-peat. Go win,” he said.