USA Team takes silver in wheelchair basketball
By Senior Airman Zachary Vucic, Air Force News Service
/ Published September 15, 2014
LONDON (AFNS) -- The U.S. fought hard in the wheelchair basketball finals, but fell 19-9 to Great Britain to take silver at the inaugural Invictus Games Sept. 13, in London.
The building shook as USA Team and Team Britain played for gold in front of approximately 6,000 people.
“We couldn’t hear each other talk,” said Marine Staff Sgt. Jacob Bradley Rich. “You could hear it, feel it, it was so thick you could eat it.”
“For all of us to be able to go out and play a sport is a privilege,” said Army Sgt. Delvin Maston. “A lot of people don’t get that opportunity, but to have that privilege in front of 6000 people (and) we don’t know how many people watching (on television), that’s the ultimate of the sport. It was an awesome experience.”
The athletes shared a similar sentiment about the games, stating they would love for the event to be repeated in some capacity.
“It’s the first year that they’ve ever had it, and we’re hoping that this takes off worldwide,” said retired Air Force Senior Airman Scott Palomino. “Maybe 10-15 years down the road we’ll be able to show our kids that we were there for the first one.”
According to USA Team memebrs, the games served a purpose beyond helping to heal military members through sports. They advanced the idea of adaptive sports across all sections of society.
“People with physical disabilities were looked at as broken, injured, or ‘getting by,’” said retired Navy Aviation Electritian’s Mate Apprentice Steven Davis. “It can change from that to, ‘they can do more than we can sometimes, sometimes they can put their heart on the line and get back into it and heal themselves through sports.’ If we expose it a little bit more … I think it will change the perspective behind people with physical disabilities.”
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.
In about two weeks, the athletes of USA Team will compete against one another in the annual Warrior Games in Colorado Spring, Colorado. They said the experience of playing together, as a nation, will aid in preparation for the next set of games.
The Invictus Games featured athletes competing in various Paralympic-style events, including swimming, track and field, seated volleyball, wheelchair basketball, and wheelchair rugby, among others.