• Paralympian gold medal winner Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder, with the help of Prince Harry and olympian Missy Franklin, light the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured servicemembers and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Paralympian gold medal winner Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder, with the help of Prince Harry and olympian Missy Franklin, light the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013...

  • Team Army keeps each other motivated as they get ready for the beginning of the opening ceremony for the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Team Army keeps each other motivated as they get ready for the beginning of the opening ceremony for the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and...

  • Olympian Missy Franklin, paralympian gold medal winner Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder and Prince Harry prepare to light the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Olympian Missy Franklin, paralympian gold medal winner Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder and Prince Harry prepare to light the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May...

  • Team Air Force athletes enter the U.S. Olympic Training Center during the opening ceremony for the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Team Air Force athletes enter the U.S. Olympic Training Center during the opening ceremony for the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the...

  • Team Marine athlete Private 1st Class Artem Lazukin relays the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Team Marine athlete Private 1st Class Artem Lazukin relays the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service...

  • Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr. speaks to the Warrior Games athletes and their families during the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr. speaks to the Warrior Games athletes and their families during the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo...

  • The 2013 Warrior Games torch burns at the opening ceremony for the games in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 11, 2013.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    The 2013 Warrior Games torch burns at the opening ceremony for the games in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 11, 2013.

  • Team Marine athlete Cpl. Anthony McDaniel cheers on his team during the opening ceremony for the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Team Marine athlete Cpl. Anthony McDaniel cheers on his team during the opening ceremony for the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured...

  • Team Air Force enters the U.S. Olympic Training Center for the opening ceremony of the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Team Air Force enters the U.S. Olympic Training Center for the opening ceremony of the 2013 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S...

  • Britain's Prince Harry and emcee U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Joshua Miles salute during the playing of the national athems at the 2013 Warrior Games opening ceremony at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013.  U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy, wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Britain's Prince Harry and emcee U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Joshua Miles salute during the playing of the national athems at the 2013 Warrior Games opening ceremony at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. U.S. Olympic...

  • Ultimate champion hopeful Sarah Evans, Team Air Force, relays the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup. Select athletes representing each military branch will compete in a pentathlon event to see who can be named the Ultimate Champion.

    2013 Warrior Games open in Colorado Springs

    Ultimate champion hopeful Sarah Evans, Team Air Force, relays the official torch to begin the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 11, 2013) -- The official start of the 2013 Warrior Games began when Navy Lt. Bradley Snyder, with the help of Prince Harry and Olympian Missy Franklin, lit the official cauldron today at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman's Cup.

Snyder said he was honored to light the cauldron.

"I am humbled by the opportunity to still be a part of something very near and dear to my heart," said Snyder. "The Warrior Games have already had an impact on so many lives, and I am truly honored to represent the U.S. Navy in broadening the event."

While serving in Afghanistan in 2011, Snyder lost his vision when an improvised explosive device detonated. He competed in the 2012 Warrior Games and later that year, he went on to qualify in swimming for the London 2012 Paralympic Games, where he won two gold medals and one silver medal. Snyder won the men's 400-meter freestyle on the exact one-year anniversary of his injury.

Third-time Warrior Games attendee Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral James A. Winnefeld Jr. spoke at the event.

"Our nation's wounded, ill and injured are very special people to me and my wife, Mary, and they will continue to be special to us. This is the highlight of our year, every year," he said.

The admiral told the athletes they are the best of the best.

"You warriors are here because of your willingness to overcome great challenges, the challenges of illness and injury, both seen and unseen, coupled with the challenges that any superior athlete must overcome in achieving greatness," he said to them. "Your heroism and determination are an inspiration. Whenever I'm having a bad day or I'm facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I just think of you, and my day becomes a very nice day."

Winnefeld also recognized the family members of the athletes, who serve as caregivers.

"Mary and I extend our heartfelt thanks to the family members and friends of our athletes here today, especially those who unselfishly dropped everything else in their lives to become dedicated caregivers," he said. "It's very hard work, and it's often overlooked. They are very special people."

The admiral also extended congratulations to athletes like Snyder who now compete on the Paralympic team and win gold medals for the U.S. team.

The Warrior Games were created in 2010 as an introduction to adaptive sports and reconditioning activities for service members and veterans.

Adaptive sports and reconditioning are linked to a variety of benefits for wounded, ill, and injured service members across all branches of the military. They include less stress, reduced dependency on pain and depression medication, fewer secondary medical conditions, higher achievement in education and employment, increased independence, increased self-confidence, and increased mobility.

The fourth annual Warrior Games is hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee and supported by the Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation, the Semper Fi Fund, the Bob Woodruff Foundation and other corporate sponsors.

"We are proud to host the Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Air Force Academy," wrote Charlie Huebner, the chief of Paralympics for the U.S. Olympics Committee in a press release. "Paralympic sport has a tremendously positive impact on individuals with physical disabilities, and the Warrior Games allow us to salute these fine young men and women who have served their countries honorably."

The Warrior Games competitions are free and open to the public.

Page last updated Sat May 11th, 2013 at 00:00