TAMPA, Fla. -- U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Ian Crawley knows that he came to the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games with big goals. Like everyone else, he wanted to win medals. The avid cyclist who excels in rowing, field events and wheelchair basketball didn't have it in the sports cards to do that, and he reflects on that with bitter sweetness.
"Seeing my comrades in arms competing is inspiring to me every time," said Crawley. "The worst part; I missed the winning break away (in cycling race). I didn't even see them go off the front and no medals for this guy. I'll be the only one to not bring home a medal to Fort Campbell. Disappointing."
The opportunity to be at the games is not all disappointing to Crawley who sees the competition as a reflection of hard work in athletes' recovery.
"I feel that it's a great thing for recovering service members to have an opportunity to be able to come push themselves mentally and physically in a competitive environment. This is also great for the families to see their wounded warriors overcome and surpass the injury or illness that has set them back in life," said Crawley.
Out of 300 athletes from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines plus SOCOM, and the countries of the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Denmark, Australia and Canada, there are three medals available for each competition so that makes it pretty competitive. Crawley knows he is competing against the best of the best and he is pressing forward knowing he had what it took to get here - and he wants more.
"When I started this journey last September, that (Warrior Games) became a goal of mine. I will try to get to Invictus but will see what happens. I have a lot of uncertainties in the air right now. It would be an honor to represent my country and my branch of service," Crawley said.
The Ammunition Specialist says he's had quite the experience here and knows he did his best. He leaves with growth and a positive attitude. "This has helped validate all the hours upon hours on the bike that I have improved and can ride with strong riders at a competitive level."