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Invictus Games: Airman takes silver in powerlifting

Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Melissa Coduti concentrates as she prepares to make her lift in the women’s heavyweight powerlifting competition at the Invictus Games Sept. 14, 2014, in London. The Invictus Games feature athletes competing in various Paralympic-style events, including swimming, track and field, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby, among others. (U.S. Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Mark Logico)

Retired Air Force Staff Sgt. Melissa Coduti concentrates as she prepares to make her lift in the women’s heavyweight powerlifting competition at the Invictus Games Sept. 14, 2014, in London. The Invictus Games feature athletes competing in various Paralympic-style events, including swimming, track and field, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby, among others. (U.S. Navy photo/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class (SW) Mark Logico)

LONDON (AFNS) -- A retired Air Force staff sergeant took silver in the heavyweight powerlifting category here Sept. 14, in the final day of competition at the inaugural Invictus Games.

Melissa Coduti had her medal up before her final lift even took place, pressing 52 kilograms (114 pounds).

Coduti said despite having the medal in the bag before her last press, her approach did not change.


“There’s always pressure because you still want your third attempt to go up,” she said. “You don’t want to have a failed attempt.

“It’s all technique and it’s all a mind game too. If you stay tight and focused and just focus on the basics and the fundamentals, that weight will go up.”

The retired Airman was only medically cleared to return to bench pressing just six weeks ago. She said the competition was only her sixth time on the bench since her clearance.

The elated Coduti said she could not have been happier about her medal and the experience of coming to London for the games.


“Humbling, that’s the best word to use,” she said. “This is an extremely humbling experience. For (Great Britain) to get an entire country to rally behind 14 other countries is impeccable.”


The powerlifting event is an individual contest in which each athlete completes three presses. The competitor and coach select a starting weight, and discuss and select each successive weight depending on how the athlete feels about the previous lift.

The idea for the Invictus Games was generated by Prince Harry of Wales when he traveled to the U.S. to watch the annual Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colorado. While the Warrior Games focuses on interservice competition, Invictus is an international competition with wounded warriors from 14 nations competing together under their respective flag.

The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered.’ The games were created to embody the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick warriors, and recognize the road to recovery they are on through sporting achievement.

“We fight together, we heal together.” Coduti said. “This has been the experience of a lifetime. I don’t know how you ever top this.”

The Invictus Games feature athletes competing in various Paralympic-style events, including swimming, track and field, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby, among others.

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