The 2021 Army Trials Opening Ceremony was held on an online platform on March 1, 2021. (U.S. Army courtesy photo)
The 2021 Army Trials Opening Ceremony was held on an online platform on March 1, 2021. (U.S. Army courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

ARLINGTON, Va. – On March 1, 2021, the Army Trials officially kicked off in a different way than any that came before it. As a COVID-19 precautionary measure, the entire opening ceremony was held on an online platform.

More than 90 wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and veterans are competing in this year’s virtual Army Trials. The athletic competition is being held from March 1-15 to determine who will represent Team Army in the Department of Defense Warrior Games from September 12-22 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

Opening Ceremony attendees joined Lt. Gen. R. Scott Dingle, the U.S. Army Surgeon General; Command Sgt. Maj. Diamond Hough, U.S. Army Medical Command; Jon Stewart, comedian and military advocate; Tim Bomke, former Warrior Games athlete and Thomas Webb, executive director, Army Recovery Care Program in congratulating the participants as they started the trials. Some also shared words of advice.

Dingle told the athletes that many of them had already won because they possess the intestinal fortitude to get out there. He told them that they are more than just an inspiration — they are heroes and warriors.

“I’m extremely proud of you all,” he said.

Hough shared a memory from his first games and said that he left feeling pride and resiliency.

“Just don’t underestimate what you mean to your nation,” he said.

Webb encouraged the athletes to have fun, try to learn something from the experience and pay it forward by motivating someone else to get involved in an activity.

Two-time Warrior Games athlete for Team Army and retired Army Capt. Tim Bomke shared his experience and the benefits of participating in the Warrior Games. He described how a different mindset, confidence and willingness to put himself into events that he might have talked himself out of before helped him earn more medals. He encouraged athletes to be willing to put themselves out there.

“Draw on that personal courage that we all have as Soldiers,” he said.

Comedian Jon Stewart, who has supported Team Army through the years, congratulated the athletes and shared memories from his past experiences at military sporting events.

“I’m so proud of you guys,” he said. “I’m so excited to see what Team Army is going to deliver this year.”

In the coming days, the athletes will compete in 11 events, including shooting, wheelchair basketball, golf, powerlifting and cycling. The 2021 Army Trials will culminate in a Closing Ceremony that will also be held on an online platform on March 15 from 1:00–1:30 p.m. EST.

Team Army for the 2021 Department of Defense Warrior Games will be announced in April.

For additional information about the 2021 Army Trials Closing Ceremony, please contact Julia Oliveri at julia.l.oliveri.civ@mail.mil.