Amputee Soldier Carries Torch at Warrior Games
By Elizabeth M. Collins
Army News Service
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 11, 2010 A soldier whose leg was amputated below the knee carried the torch into the Olympic Training Center here yesterday during opening ceremonies for the inaugural Warrior Games.
Army Sgt. Robert Price carries the torch for the first Warrior Games into the Olympic Training Center at Colorado Springs, Colo., during the games’ opening ceremony May 10, 2010. Price lost his right leg below the knee to a roadside bomb in Iraq but remains on active duty, serving as a cadre member at the warrior transition battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Doug Sample
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Army Sgt. Robert Price was the first servicemember to carry the torch before handing it over to representatives from each of the other services. Hall-of-Fame football player, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and Vietnam veteran Roger Staubach completed the short journey and lit the Olympic flame.
Price, who remained in the Army after losing his right leg to a roadside bomb in Iraq, is a cadre member at the warrior transition battalion at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio. He was given the honor because he made sure other soldiers had the opportunity to compete as well.
“I helped out quite a bit [with] other posts that don’t have the training materials or for people to … get them out and do their training at my post,” he explained. “I just took the initiative [and] took over the BAMC part of it for the Warrior Games [to], get these guys to come in and start doing it at Fort Sam Houston.
“I was actually very surprised,” he continued. “I didn’t even expect [to carry the torch].”
He was happy to do it, though, especially because sports helped to keep him in the military. In fact, one of the reasons he decided to stay in the Army after losing his leg was to show other soldiers that they could, too.
“I’m walking, living proof of that,” he said. “I’m out there. I made a difference. I’m out doing the right thing, being better. The importance of having an event like this is it gives all these wounded and injured or sick servicemembers out here … that sitting back in your room playing X-box, that’s not what your life is about. There are other things you can go do, more things you can go out and do. There are a lot of sports activities. You can intermingle with your community again. Life doesn’t come to an end just because you’re sick or you’re injured.”
Price didn’t even make allowances for his injuries while training for the Warrior Games. Nothing, he said, could slow him down. He plans to compete in three sports: archery, which he took up after his injury three years ago; 10-meter prone shooting, because he’s always loved to shoot; and sitting volleyball, which is a lot harder than it sounds, Price said, explaining that it requires a lot of core strength. “You’ve got to have some strong abs, some strong arms to move around,” he said.
Bearing the torch and taking part in the history-making competition isn’t all fun and games to Price, however. Equally important, he said, are the friends and comrades who can’t be there to cheer him on.
“It felt great,” he said, “but at the same time, you have happiness and joy, but you’ve also got the sorrow part that goes inside the back of your head when you’re sitting there going, ‘I’ve lost a bunch of friends. A bunch of people aren’t here to see this, to experience this.”