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Warrior Games to include pentathlon ultimate challenge

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The inaugural Warrior Games competition May 10 through 14 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., will feature individual and team events and an ultimate champion multi-sport challenge for a Chairman's Cup trophy.

During a "DOD Live" bloggers roundtable May 6, Robert E. Moore Jr., chief of strategic communications at the Army's Warrior Transition Command, said the games will start with a fitting opening ceremony.

After all, Mr. Moore asked rhetorically, "What is an Olympics without a torch?"

For the Warrior Games, Mr. Moore said, the symbol of the torch will be represented by U.S. flags that have flown in Iraq, Afghanistan, at the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, at Ground Zero in New York City, at the Pentagon Memorial and at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa.

Rolling Thunder motorcyclists are riding across the United States to Colorado Springs with the flags and will deliver them to the arena as part of the opening ceremony.

Mr. Moore credits the idea for the Warrior Games to Army Brig. Gen. Gary H. Cheek, commander of Army Warrior Transition Command, and Marine Col. Greg Boyle, commander of the Wounded Warrior Regiment at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. He said they drew inspiration from seeing the tremendous positive impact participants derived from the "Ride 2 Recovery" biking fitness challenge program.

"A lot of what we are trying to do is show the value of not just competition, but of adaptive sports in the recovery and (the) maximum potential these individuals can reach post injuries or wounds," Mr. Moore said.

He added that representatives of the U.S. Olympic Committee, the USO and the American Red Cross helped to develop the concept.

Organizers took pains to ensure a fair selection process, he said. The 200 participants proportionately represent each branch of the armed services. Since the Army is the largest service, it has 100 participants in the games. Each service set its own guidelines and picked its own team members.

Most, Mr. Moore said, serve on active duty, though some of the athletes are veterans. Participants are divided into categories based on injuries, and Mr. Moore said they include, "those who have not so obvious injuries of traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder."

Gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded at the end of each event. Events include shooting, swimming, archery, track, discus, shot put, cycling, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

A pentathlon ultimate champion challenge will culminate with the awarding of a new Chairman's Cup trophy. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. Mike Mullen cannot attend the Warrior Games, Mr. Moore said, but he will send a personal message to honor all the players.

Mr. Moore said he expects to see results long after the May 14 closing ceremonies. The games haven't even begun, he said, and he's already witnessed confidence growing by leaps and bounds among competitors who are overcoming limitations and surpassing their own expectations.

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