[caption id=“attachment_2469” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“Despite the competition, sailor and soldier refused to leave a fellow female soldier behind, crossing the finish line together at the 2010 Warrior Games. (Photo courtesy of Flickr.com/theUSO)”][/caption]

Competition may be over for the nearly 200 athletes who took part in the inaugural Warrior Games in Colorado, but their determined spirits continue to inspire.  From archery to swimming, basketball to volleyball, cycling to track and field, these athletes - representing all five branches of the military - showed that no injury or disability could diminish the desire to compete and succeed on the playing field and off.

And while rivalries among the branches were strong, a common sense of camaraderie pervaded every moment of the Games.  “Certainly, there were teams out there fighting for their colors, but I notice in every circumstance, when the competition ended, there were arms around each other,” Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, told the troops. “It was about how we competed as a team.”

[caption id=“attachment_2470” align=“aligncenter” width=“500” caption=“U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Daniel Hathorne accepts the Ultimate Champion award at the Warrior Games at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colo. May 14, 2010. Hathorne scored two gold medals and a bronze at the games earning him the top honors. (DoD photo by Fred W. Baker III)”][/caption]

Here at the USO, we could not be more proud of these games and the athletes who competed to admirably.  And with talk of the second annual Warrior Games already underway, we’re excited what the future holds.  “How do you beat this place?” Brig. Gen. Gary Cheek told the Colorado Springs’ newspaper The Gazette. “It has been a terrific week. Having the magic and the history that emanates here, all the great American athletes that have trained here, it sparked the enthusiasm we’ve had. We’re very proud we can now add to that history.”

Congratulations to every participant, all of the winners (click here to see all results), and all of the staff, volunteers, and sponsors who made the inaugural Warrior Games such a tremendous success.  And finally, take a moment to check out last night’s “Making a Difference” segment on NBC News, a fitting tribute to our warrior athletes…

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