Warrior Games competition plans return to Colorado Springs

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The annual Warrior Games, featuring wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans competing in several sporting events, will return here in 2012, U.S. Olympic Committee officials announced Dec. 6.

The USOC-hosted games will take place April 30 to May 5. The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments, the USO, the Fisher House Foundation, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and Deloitte also support the event.

"We are excited to welcome our service members and veterans back to Colorado Springs for the third annual competition," said Scott Blackmun, USOC's chief executive officer. "These games truly exemplify the fighting spirit within each and every one of these athletes, all who have sacrificed for our great country."

The Warrior Games event was created in 2010 as an introduction to paralympic sports for injured service members and veterans. The games have become a springboard for many service members and veterans to continue participating in sports programs in their communities.

Since the games' inception, officials said, medical treatment facilities, warrior transition units and wounded warrior battalions have seen a more than 20-percent increase in sports program participation by wounded, ill and injured service members, officials said.

More than 200 wounded, ill, and injured service members and veterans are expected to compete in seven sports: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, and wheelchair basketball. All eligible athletes will be drawn proportionately from the Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard and Special Operations based on their disability.

The U.S. Marine Corps has earned the Chairman's Cup as the service branch that won the most medals in the two previous Warrior Games.

(From a U.S. Olympic Committee news release.)