Warrior Games presented by Deloitte bring nearly 200 athletes together for weeklong competition

May 10, 2010, 10:32 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The Warrior Games, presented by Deloitte, have brought nearly 200 wounded, ill and injured service members from across the country to Colorado Springs for a week of competition and camaraderie.  Sport competition will be held May 11-15, but activities commence on May 10 with the Opening Ceremonies.


This inaugural event pits military personnel from all five service branches against one another in the sports of archery, cycling, track & field, swimming, shooting, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.


“I feel like this has put me back on a level playing field with everyone else,” said Gunnery Sergeant Marcus Wilson, an athlete with the All-Marine Warrior Games Team.  “We’ve been training in Colorado for the past two weeks and though the practices have been intense, all our sessions have been productive and it’s going to pay off in the end.”


Wilson lost his left leg above-the-knee when his vehicle was hit with an improvised explosive device in 2006.  He will be competing in the shot put and discus, as well as with the Marine Corps teams in wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.


Competitors were chosen by each service branch with the largest number of athletes representing the U.S. Army.  While participants are vying for individual glory, the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force are also in competition for the Chairman’s Cup, which will be awarded to the top performing service branch.


In addition to winners in each event, there will be an "Ultimate Champion" competition in a pentathlon format.  Nineteen athletes have entered the Ultimate Champion event, which includes the 50m freestyle swim, 100m sprint, 1500m run, shot put and 10m air rifle events.


The Warrior of the Day presented by Deloitte will also be awarded at the conclusion of each day’s competition.  These award winners receive recognition on the U.S. Paralympics website.


Warrior Games, a joint effort between the U.S. Olympic Committee & Department of Defense, was created to inspire recovery, capitalize on physical fitness and promote new opportunities for growth and achievement for wounded, ill or injured service men and women.


“The most important thing from our perspective is for all our service members to focus on their abilities, defeat their disabilities and get back into life. The overall intent is to let these men and women know they can have a rich, rewarding and productive future despite whatever wounds, illness or injuries they may have sustained in service to their country,” said Brigadier General Gary Cheek during a recent appearance on NBC’s Today Show.  Gen. Cheek serves as the Assistant Surgeon General of Warrior Care and Transition and Commander of the Warrior Transition Command for the U.S. Army.   


The Warrior Games help elevate abilities through athletic competition, but the success of the athletes will be weighed in more than just gold, silver and bronze.


“Sport is a critical part of the rehabilitation process,” said Charlie Huebner, USOC Chief of Paralympics.  “These men and women are not here just for the sake of competition.  Each service member that steps to the start line or gets on the court this week is reclaiming his or her life and showing others that in spite of their injuries, there is hope.”


Daily video highlights, competition recaps and photos will be posted at www.USParalympics.org.  Fans can also follow the Warrior Games on Facebook and Twitter at www.facebook.com/usparalympics and www.twitter.com/usparalympics and use the hashtag #WarriorGames.