Soldiers begin practice week for Warrior Games
May 9, 2011
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 9, 2011) -- The second annual Warrior Games is gearing up for competition with a week-long training session in Colorado Springs, Colo., starting today.
Two hundred wounded, ill and injured athletes from across the services are training to compete for gold in seven different events during the Games: archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting, swimming, track and field, and sitting volleyball.
The competition runs May 16-21,2011, and is a joint effort the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense.
Soldiers are getting to know their teammates this week, practicing together before competition starts in earnest.
Staff Sgt. Curtis Winston, an archer from Fort Belvoir, Va., competed in the inaugural Warrior Games last year, after taking up the bow a scant month before. He went on to win the silver medal.
"It's going to be nice to see who else is showing up this year," Winston said in an interview last week. He and the Army archery team are training together on location this week with a coach.
"We'll have clinics and stuff every day. We'll practice with the whole team," he said.
Though Soldiers practice together as a team, archery is an individual sport, structured similarly to shooting, Winston explained. There are seven recurve bow shooters, including Winston, and nine compound bow shooters on the Army team.
"For the past six weeks, I've been shooting almost every day," Winston said about his training. He also hits the gym three days a week, but warns against over-training.
"You don't train continuously, all year round," he said. "You really wait for about six to eight weeks out from your event to really start training, otherwise you'll burn yourself out."
Winston is confident he'll make the qualification round on May 17, 2011, and continue on to the finals the following day.
Winston entered the Army in 2002 and after basic training, deployed to Iraq with the 3rd Infantry Division. On his third deployment there, Winston was injured in an improvised explosive device attack.
"I fractured my right hand and I had multiple fractures all down my left leg," he said. The bones that make up the knee were crushed, and he has since had a total knee replacement.
Archery has helped Winston recover mentally, he said.
"It made me realize I can still have an Army career after an injury," he said. "When you first get injured, you lose all self-confidence and you don't think you can do anything. This is helping me bounce back from that."
"I had no expectations last year on what it was going to be like. No one knew what it was going to be like," Winston said. "After going last year, and seeing what it was like, I'm looking forward to what this year holds."