I Am Unconquered
Invictus Games 2014
Every story is important, but sometimes, one can count themselves lucky to get assigned a story that resonates so intensely that it can change your outlook on life. In July I was chosen to be part of a team covering the Invictus Games taking place in London, England from Sept. 10 to 14.
First, let me provide you with a little background information on the games themselves. The Invictus Games were created by British Prince Harry after he witnessed last year's Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo. He took the premise of a sports competition for wounded, injured and ill service members and expanded on it. With the help of the royal family and corporate sponsors Invictus Games was created as an international competition akin to the Olympics. Each participating nation would field a team composed of members of each branch of their armed forces. Each team competed for medals in events ranging from archery to cycling in many of the venues that were used for the 2012 Olympic Games.
I knew that there would be compelling stories of people overcoming their injuries or illnesses. What I did not expect was how open these athletes were to telling their stories, and frankly, how candid they were. I would like to share two stories that stick out in my mind with you.
One of the first athletes that I met while covering training before the actual start of the Invictus Games was one that I had recognized from covering the Warrior Games last year. When I first met Javier Rodriguez Santiago, he was confined to a wheelchair after a devastating motorcycle accident. He was competing at the Warrior Games in hand cycling and was gracious enough to share his story with me. One of the things that we had discussed at the Warrior games was his prognosis going forward. He was debating whether or not he should have his left leg amputated so that he could be ambulatory again. One of Santiago's major goals was to remain on active duty as a Yeoman.