Army opens Warrior Games with nine cycling medals

By Traci Hendrix | May 12, 2013, 9 p.m. (ET)

Prince Harry starts the cycling event
Prince Harry started the first race of the cycling competition on May 12 at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. ― With Prince Harry on hand to start the men’s handcycling competition, the 2013 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte competitions kicked-off in Colorado Springs, Colo., with the cycling events. The wheels spun forwarded from there.

Army finished with nine medals (one gold medal, four silver medals and four bronze medals), ahead of the Marine Corps and Special Operations, which had four medals each. Air Force claimed three medals and Navy won a bronze medal.

Air Force Maj. Scott Bullis, who lives in Colorado Springs, delighted the hometown crowd by starting and finished the men’s recumbent cycling in first place (39:04). Bullis could not have been more proud of the result of his hard work

“I feel really good about bringing in the first gold for the Air Force especially being here to do it,” said Bullis. “I’m proud of my teammates, conditions were good, our training paid off and we came out on top. I was happy to see us win the silver in women’s too.”

Retired Maj. Jennifer Kyseth (Edmond, Okla.) won the silver medal in women’s handcycle and recumbent.

Second and third place for men’s recumbent 20k were won by Army Staff Sgt. Michael Lage (San Antonio, Texas) and Army Spc. Michael Phillips (Hamilton, Ga.) in 40:45 and 45:13 respectively.

Men’s handcycle 10k event brought Marine SSgt. Ronnie Jimenez (29 Palms, Calif.) won the first gold medal of the competition in 21:53, topping retired Army Sargent Anthony Robinson (Bethesda, Md.), who finished in 22:16, and  Marine Corporal Justin Gaertner (Tampa, Fla.) of Special Operations, who finished in 22:35.

Women’s recumbent 10k saw Sgt. Lori Yrigoyen (Camp Pendleton, Calif.) win first place for the Marine Corps, even though she did not know it. “Am I first? Did I win?” she asked after the race.

When given the affirmative, Yrigoyen threw her fists in the air with a triumphant cry.

“I’ve been training since 2012 and really pushing it since then,” she said. “This is my first one, so to be coming in gold, it feels so good.”

Kyseth was second in 25:31 while Army Spc. Elizabeth Wasil followed in 28:54.

Coming in fourth place in the women’s recumbent cycling event was Corporal Claire Edwards of the British Army, who is competing as a part of the collective British Armed Forces team. Her main drive was simply supporting her other U.S. military confidantes.

“I love the Warrior Games and all the lifelong friends it’s made for me,” Edwards said. “On the training side though, the hills are what got me, but the weather is so great I can’t really complain.”

The women’s 10k open bicycle events were flooded with Army medals. Capt. Lacey Hamilton (Fort Meade, Md.) won in 20:26 while veteran Margaux Mange (Yuma, Ariz.) took second in 20:37. Veteran Ashley Crandall (Philadelphia, Pa.) placed third in 20:48.

The ladies received their medals along with a kiss from Prince Harry, the medal presenter.

Men’s 30k open bicycle event awarded Warrior Gams returning Marine Sgt. Brian McPherson of Athens, Ga., a gold medal (47:20). Special Operations’ Mark Vomund (Whispering Pines, N.C.) was only four seconds behind , winning the silver medal, and Army Staff Sgt. Spencer Anderson II (Fountain, Colo.) received the bronze for his 47:24 time.

Men’s 30k physical disability race and 30k mixed tandem race closed out the day’s events with a spread of branches making appearances on the podium. The physical disability race saw Army Sgt. Major Christopher Self (Clarksville, Tenn.) of Special Operations taking the gold medal in a time of 52:35. Army veteran JR Salzman (Menomonie, Wis.) won the silver with 52:50 and Marine Sgt. Jorge Toledo (Oceanside, Calif.), two seconds behind, took home the bronze.

U.S. Army Cpt. Ivan Casto (Fayetteville, N.C.) of Special Operations won the mixed tandum gold medal with his 47:22 run. Air Force Cpt. Wesley Glisson (Cibolo, Texas) with the silver at 51:04 and retired Navy Builder Constructionman Dan Peters (Chicago, Ill.) won the bronze with 53:43.

Yrigoyen summed up the athletes’ overall consensus that the Warrior Games are about more than winning medals.

“I didn’t just do it for myself,” he said. “I did it for the Marines on the left and right of me and the ones who weren’t able to come. I felt like I was a part of something bigger after the opening ceremony, and I couldn’t be happier to be a part of something so great.”

For more from 2013 Warrior Games presented by Deloitte, visit teamusa.org/warriorgames/.

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