By Senior Airman Jette Carr, Air Force News Service / Published April 15, 2014
Wounded Warrior athletes huddle up for motivation and camaraderie before the track and field portion of the Air Force Trials April 8, 2014, at Rancho High School, Las Vegas, Nev. During the trials, injured, ill and wounded Airmen competed in Paralympic-type events to identify which members would be selected for the Warrior Games and Invictus Games teams. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Thomas Spangler)
Air Force Wounded Warrior program officials announced the names of the athletes to represent the Air Force during the 2014 Warrior Games and the Invictus Games at the closing ceremony for the Air Force Trials, in Las Vegas, Nev., April 11.
The Air Force Trials gave injured, ill and wounded Airmen a chance to compete in Paralympic-style events. From a pool of more than 100 athletes, 40 were chosen as members of the Air Force Warrior Games team to compete at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo., Sept. 28 through Oct. 4. Another 20 athletes were selected for a team competing in the Invictus Games in London, England, Sept. 10 through 14.
During the games, athletes will participate in seven different sports, to include cycling, air rifle and pistol shooting, archery, seated volleyball, track and field, swimming, and wheelchair basketball.
This is the fourth year Airmen have competed in the Warrior Games and athlete participation has grown exponentially.
“In 2010, we had six applications and after a lot of cold calls, we ended up with a team of 21,” said Maj. James Bales, the head coach for the Warrior Games Air Force team. “In 2011, we had a team of 27. In 2012, we had a team of 28. In 2013, we had a team of 50. This year we are capped with a team of 40, but we have over 100 athletes competing to make our 2014 Warrior Games team.”