Announcing the Inaugural Warrior Games

By BG Gary Cheek, WTC Commander

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek, right, commanding general, U.S. Army Warrior Transition Command, announces the inagural Warrior Games at a Pentagon press conference, Jan. 7, 2010. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward)

BG Gary Cheek announces the inaugural Warrior Games at a Pentagon press conference, Jan. 7, 2010. (DoD photo by R. D. Ward)

Yesterday, I was proud to join Charlie Huebner, Chief of Paralympics from the U.S. Olympic Committee to announce the inaugural Warrior Games at the Pentagon. On May 10 – 14, wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Coast Guardsmen will battle at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The Warrior Games will host 200 wounded warrior athletes to compete in the following events:

  • Archery
  • Cycling
  • Discus
  • Shooting
  • Shot put
  • Sitting Volleyball
  • Swimming
  • Track
  • Wheelchair Basketball
  • Ultimate Warrior Competition (pentathlon format)

At the press conference, I met SGT Juan Alcivar, who has been working toward recovery at Walter Reed. SGT Alcivar competed in sports for most of his life, and he is applying to compete in the Warrior Games in sitting volleyball, shot put and discus, and cycling.

SGT Alcivar told members of my team, “Staying in the Army is my biggest goal right now, and training for the Warrior Games will help me get in shape for my PT test. My squad leader is very supportive of things like this that help me to move forward with my life. Plus, I’m excited for the chance to beat a couple of my Marine buddies from physical therapy.”

I was so inspired listening to two-time Paralympian and Army Veteran John Register who stated:

“I saw the angel in the marble, and I carved until I set him free.” When I was a soldier, I was a part of an elite group called the Army’s World Class Athlete Program. It’s a program that allows a service member to train three to four years prior to an Olympic or Paralympic Games. I’d just graduated the University of Arkansas, where I was a four-time All-American there. And not only did the Army allow me to pursue my athletic careers, it also allowed me to pursue my military careers. I fell in love with the Army. I loved the discipline of it.

He closed his remarks by telling reporters, “These athletes are the angels in the marble. Through the support of the Department of Defense, the USOC and the Paralympic branch, and other partners, sports will be the chisel to set them free.”

I encourage all Wounded Warriors to strive to test new limits and achieve new goals as they demonstrate the power of ability over disability. Our servicemembers continually rise to the occasion both in the call to duty and in their efforts to recover from serious injury. The Warrior Games will provide a unique challenge for those who wish to learn more about Paralympic sports and compete at a national level.

Wounded Soldiers interested in competing in the Warrior Games should contact their squad leader for more information about the nomination process at their WTU.

Good luck to SGT Alcivar and all wounded warriors training for the Warrior Games. I look forward to the competition in May.

You can watch video of yesterday’s press conference at the PentagonChannel.mil and read the transcript on Defense.gov.

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