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    Game of inches: Wounded warriors prove they are still in the fight

    Game of inches: Wounded warriors prove they are still in the fight

    Photo By Sgt. Cuong Le | A service member participates in a track and field event during the 2014 Warrior...... read more read more



    Story by Cpl. Cuong Le 

    Defense Media Activity - Marines

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Marines, airmen, sailors and soldiers gathered at Garry Berry Stadium during the 2014 Warrior Games to partake in a track and field competition here, Oct. 2.

    Service members competed fiercely in various events earning gold, silver and bronze medals and the bragging rights of their respective services.

    “All these events are performed for Team USA in the Paralympics, so when you have guys who are injured and can’t stay in the military it’s another way for them to serve,” said Michael Wishnia, a discus and shotput competitor for the Marine Corps team.

    However, this event gives the wounded warriors more than just a medal to wear.

    “It puts a competitive edge back into your life,” Wishnia said. “A lot of these guys got hurt and they have nowhere to go in their lives. This opens ups a whole new different world for them.”

    The events in the Warrior Games may have been modified to accommodate the players, but this does not mean they are easy.

    “It’s a lot of hard work and dedication just like anything,” said Wishnia.

    But that does not mean the competitors are complaining, because for some of them this competition means more than just a gold medal.

    “Warrior games, for me, has given me a sense of a future after I was diagnosed with cancer four years ago, and I didn’t have any way to look forward and move ahead with my life,” said Lara Ishikawa, a shotput and track competitor for the Air Force team. “But the Warrior Games gave me a sense of something to look forward to. It gave me an opportunity to plan ahead.”

    In fact competitors encourage every wounded warrior to think about joining the competition.

    “I would highly encourage someone to join the Warrior Games and to try out,” said Ishikawa. “It gives you a sense of hope and direction; camaraderie and team work; it’s like coming into a whole new family.”

    Even first-time competitors can prove that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

    “It’s a dream come true to myself, because a few years back I never thought I would be doing this with two medals around my [neck],” said Lamar Linton, a track and field competitor for the Navy team. “I am loving it. I can’t go wrong; it’s priceless.”

    Despite difficult competition pushing each competitor to his or her limits, many of the service members remain unfazed.

    “You will never know what your potential is until you go out there and try,” said Michael Smith, a track and field competitor for the Army team. “If there is something out there that you want to achieve and get done -- try, try, and try again. If you don’t at least put that effort in, then you will never know what you could have accomplished, you don’t want to wait until it’s too late.”

    The Warrior Games is just another way service members choose to serve their country.

    “It just shows that no matter what your injury is or what your sickness is, don’t count us out,” said Smith. “We’re not down and out; we’re still striving for excellence, we are still competing, we are still trying to remain tactically and technically proficient.”



    Date Taken: 10.03.2014
    Date Posted: 10.03.2014 16:22
    Story ID: 144246

    Web Views: 264
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