By Karen Parrish
DoD News, Defense Media Activity
WASHINGTON, June 23, 2015 – Motivational posters throughout the Pentagon depict people with prosthetic limbs –- even one small boy with two “blade” legs -- engaged in athletics, with the sentence, “Your excuse is invalid.”
That spirit helps explain the Defense Department’s 2015 Warrior Games held at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. The Games bring together wounded, ill or injured service members and veterans from across the U.S. military, and also include troops from the United Kingdom.
The Olympic-style event opened June 19 and continues through the 28th, with about 250 athletes competing in eight events: wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, cycling, archery, shooting, track and field, and wheelchair rugby. Competitors represent the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command, and the British Armed Forces.
Basketball and volleyball events, still underway, are tournament-style, while cycling races and archery matches took place earlier this week.
Field is composed of seated shot put, standing shot put, seated discus, and standing discus. The men’s shot weight is 6 kilograms for standing and 4 kilograms for seated. The women’s shot weight is 3 kilograms for standing and seated.
The men’s discus weight is 1.5 kilograms for standing and 1 kilogram for seated. The women’s discus weight is 1 kilogram for standing and seated.
U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Sydney Davis competed in the field competition and earned a gold medal in discus. She spoke to DoD News’ Shannon Collins on Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, the site of this year’s Games.
“Gosh, it felt amazing,” Davis said. “[To] think about getting here, and doing really well, and then it actually happening.”
Davis said while today’s distance didn’t match her personal best, she felt she did well -– as her first-place showing attests.
The soldier said the “Army team in general –- we’re just screamin’ at the competition.”
Also a winner for the Army today, Spc. Haywood Range III earned his first gold medal in his first Warrior Games competition, beating the field in standing shot-put.
Range told Collins the victory “feels great.”
“I’ve only been to a couple meets,” he said, “trying to get the ‘nerves out’ in each meet I go in.”
The Army leads this year’s overall standings to date, with most medals earned and most gold medals: nine, versus four each for the Marine Corps, U.S. Special Operations Command and United Kingdom.