Army men take silver in track relay at Warrior Games
May 18, 2011
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Army News Service, May 18, 2011) -- The Army took the silver medal yesterday in the men's relay during the 2011 Warrior Games here, at Garry Berry Stadium.
Robert Laux, Christopher Ford, Robbie Gaupp and Kenny Griffith were all smiles during the medal ceremony after finishing at 52.07 seconds, a close second just behind the Marines, in the mixed 4x100 relay. The team worked hard for the win and even underwent a last minute replacement when Quintarious Almon pulled out of the race because of exhaustion from previous heats.
"Just winded from back to back running events," Almon said, while taking about a half an hour to recover, keeping hydrated and cool. "Today sucked because I wasn't able to continue, but my replacement, Christopher Ford, did awesome."
Almon, who has a traumatic brain injury, was probably the biggest runner at the event, weighing just over 200 pounds, he said. But his size belied his speed. He beat Gaupp in the 100-meter dash open preliminaries with a time of 12.10 seconds.
Other members of the relay team had success throughout the day's events. Griffith took the silver medal in the 100-meter dash for upper body amputee and limb dysfunction, while his teammate, Laux, took the bronze for the same event. Both are participating in the Ultimate Warrior competition this week as well.
Almon's friend, Gaupp, won the bronze in the 100-meter dash open finals with a time of 12.50 seconds.
Gaupp shattered his right shoulder in 2008 while conducting a joint operations mission with the Border Patrol. Though he has undergone two surgeries to repair the injury, he still has limited mobility, running with his arm tight against his side. But the injury couldn't keep him from his passion for track and field.
"I think it's an exceptional honor to be at the Warrior Games. It's inspiring to see other people overcome adversity and to see people show their ability over their disabilities," Gaupp said. "It's a privilege to be competing against people like that because we don't get that honor all the time. We don't get to come out here and race against each other."
Last year, Gaupp was injured and went home without a medal and promised himself that given an opportunity, he would do it again and win.
"I feel that I could have done better, just in the aspect that nobody should be able to beat me. That's how I feel. But I did everything I could to win," he added.
Gaupp encourages his fellow Soldiers not to use their disabilities as a crutch, but to overcome them.
"Don't worry about what other people think, just do your best," Almon agreed.
Though the Marines held the day with the most wins overall, the Army held its own, winning the gold medal in two events, the silver in four events, and the bronze in nine events -- which includes a shut-out by the Army's female athletes in the women's shot put sitting field event. In that event, Jasmine Perry took gold, Marcia Morris-Roberts the silver and Seyward McKinney the bronze.
The Warrior Games, a joint effort between the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Department of Defense, is sponsored by Deloitte. For a complete competition schedule or list of event results, please visit www.usparalympics.org/warriorgames.