Senior Master Sgt. Mike Sanders, left, and Maj. Scott Bullis hold hands as they cross the finish line as they take part in the recumbent cycling event of Warrior Games 2012 on May 1, 2012, at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Val Gempis)
Capt. Anthony Simone gets a congratulatory kiss from his son after completing his race May 1, 2012, as part of the Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Simone is recovering from a traumatic brain injury and competed in the men's recumbent bike category. He finished the race with a time of 1:35:53. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
Retired Tech. Sgt. Chris Wolff raises his hands after crossing the finish line May 1, 2012, as he takes part in a hand cycling event during Warrior Games 2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. He finished with a time of 29:59. (U.S. Air Force photo/Val Gempis)
Capt. Anthony Simone is cheered by the crowd as he heads to the finish line April 30, 2012, while taking part in a cycling event of Warrior Games 2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. (U.S. Air Force photo/Val Gempis)
Chief Master Sgt. Damian Orslene, center, catches his breath May 1, 2012, after taking part in the recumbent cycling event of Warrior Games 2012 at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Orslene finished in third place with a time of 43:43. (U.S. Air Force photo/Val Gempis)
Maj. Gregg Rich speeds by as a spectator cheers him on during the cycling portion of the Warrior Games May 1, 2012, at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. Rich competed in the men's physical disability category and finished in 10th place with a time of 1:07:48. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes)
by Tech. Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
Defense Media Activity
5/2/2012 - COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AFNS) -- Wounded warriors from around the U.S. and British armed forces battled it out May 1 in the cycling portion of the 2012 Wounded Warrior Games here.
In the first event of the week, the Air Force started off strong snagging the silver and bronze medals the in the men's recumbent cycling competition.
Marine Levi Marshall secured the winning time of 39:31 followed by Scott Bullis and Mike Sanders who tied for second place at 43:07. Damian Orslene rounded out the top three just .37 shy of second place with a time of 43:43.
The Air Force trio made an effort to finish the race together, regardless of medal rankings. Bullis and Sanders crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. Their shared second place turned Orslene's fourth place into a third place bronze medal.
"I think that makes a great statement about what these games mean for (the Air Force team)," Orslene said. "If it wasn't for these guys, I wouldn't be standing here with a medal around my neck. It sets the tone for the Air Force team. We're not all about individual awards; it's about what we do for the team. These guys set the perfect example."
Bullis and Sanders both agreed that their performance was all about the team. The pair knew Orslene had mechanical troubles with his bike and decided help their wingman earn his way onto the winners block.
"By doing something like what we did, we made a memory," Sanders said. "And now we've got a team that is probably very motivated and inspired. We want them to do the same thing throughout the games."
"It's not about racking up medals -- it's nice to have them," Bullis said. "It's about everybody working together."
Also in the men's recumbent, Anthony Simone finished 1:35:53.
The Army swept the competition in the women's bicycle/recumbent/handcycle taking all three medals for the black and gold team, and the Marines followed suit in the men's bicycle open category.
The Marines and the Army each took home six medals for their teams, leaving the Air Force, Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command and British Armed Forces trailing in cycling.
Other Air Force cyclists include Gregg Rich in the physical disability category, who finished with a time of 1:07:48; Jeff Odom and Christopher Wolff, both in handcycling with respective times of 27:30 and 29:59; Jennifer Stone in the women's bicycle finishing at 24:58, Ramina Oraha in the women's recumbent at 32:51 and Adam Tanverdi in the men's bicycle open finished with a time of 53:48.