COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (NNS) -- Twenty-five Sailors joined nearly 200 service members marching down the center of the U.S. Olympic Training Center Colorado Springs, Colo., May 10, at the opening ceremony of the inaugural Warrior Games - a weeklong competition among wounded athletes from all the services.
Participants will compete in archery, cycling, basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field and volleyball during the weeklong games.
However, it is not the physical limitations of these service members that define the games -- the omission of the word "wounded" in the title is not unintentional. Despite their disabilities, this group has learned to adapt and achieve what many of them may have thought impossible.
Juan M. Garcia III, assistant Navy secretary for manpower and reserve affairs, lauded the troops for their willingness to compete and to never give up on themselves and their nation. He praised their readiness to accept new challenges.
"Who could not be inspired by what's going on here?" Garcia asked. "Before us are men and women who suffered injuries both physical and mental. [But] they refuse to be defeated, no matter where their battlefields were."
Army Sgt. Robert Price took the torch for the first few steps. His right leg was claimed by a bomb in Iraq in 2007. Price has eyes on making the 2012 U.S. Paralympic team, and he describes himself as a "prior" wounded warrior. He now spends his time in the Army helping others who are just beginning their recovery.
"It's all eyes on you," he said, and then he laughed.
Navy Master Chief Petty Officer James Wilson, a 32-year veteran Sailor said he was glad no one could see the tears streaming down his face as he took his turn carrying the torch.
"I was speechless," Wilson said of the moment he was asked to lead his team at the games. "That was a dream of mine since I was a child. I thought I'd never realize it."
This week, Wilson will stand against all odds on a sports field wearing a U.S. uniform and competing against troops half his age.
"I'm going to hold out just fine. It's these guys I'm worried about," he joked.
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