COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Near 25-mile per hour wind welcomed the opening day of competition at the 2012 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte.
In its third year, Warrior Games kicked off with five cycling events on Tuesday morning at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the Army and Marines equally filling the podiums. Both teams finished with six medals each, Army with two gold, a silver and three bronze, while the Marines notched two gold, three silver and a bronze.
The Army was led by the women’s recumbent handcycle, who swept the 10K race.
“I am proud of the entire female squad,” Army Veteran Tanya Anderson said. “We came and swept the whole field like we had planned.”
Anderson took the gold in 18 minutes, 28 seconds.
“It wasn’t as fast as practice,” Anderson added about the course. “It was tough today just because of the stress of it, but overall it just felt good.”
The Marines also saw a sweep as they dominated the men’s 30K bicycle open.
In the men’s 30K bicycle physical disability category, Army Sergeant Major Christopher Self grabbed the lone cycling medal for SOCOM that day.
It was Self’s first-ever bicycle race, and his performance also turned out to be SOCOM’s first-ever Warrior Games gold medal in the cycling event.
“Luckily, I was the strongest guy on the hill in that last lap,” said Self, who is making his first Warrior Games appearance and is aiming for the Ultimate Champion prize. Self will also compete in the shot put, swimming and air rifle events this week.
“I’m hoping just to keep competitive in the areas I know that I’m not going to be in the medal stands, so when it comes time in the end, I want to at least be in the top-three for the ultimate champion. It’s real tight competition. The Marine captain is a tough guy, so I know it will be tough.”
Air Force, who finished the day with two medals, had a strong team showing the men’s 20K recumbent, having two of its athletes tie for second and another follow less than a second behind to take the bronze.
With this year being the first time an overseas team has competed in the Warrior Games, United Kingdom’s Scott Meenagh from the British Armed Forces was the lone UK athlete to compete in the cycling event and took a top-10 finish in the men’s handcycling race.
“This helps; it’s normal for us,” Self said about the Warrior Games. “We get to feel normal for a week. People, who I don’t know, have come up to me and congratulated me, and they don’t see that I’m missing a leg. They just see me.”
Competition continues through May 5 with wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball, concluding the Tuesday program. For the Warrior Games competition schedule and results, click here.