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Warrior Games Conclude, But Its Drive, Spirit Continues

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sally Foster, Defense Media Activity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., (NNS) -- Family and friends with voices hoarse from yelling joined athletes with bodies tired and emotions drained to conclude five days of full speed ahead competition May 14 at the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The closing ceremonies took place in Arnold Hall, at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and featured speakers from the USO including Rocky Bleier, a Vietnam war veteran and four-time Superbowl winner Pittsburgh Steeler. The Olympic Training Committee presented a video showcasing the competitive spirit and camaraderie of all five services, as well as a video message from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen.

"You've just completed a rigorous test of your physical and mental skills, your strength and endurance," said Mullen. "But now is no time to rest. I'd like you to take what you've done here, what you've learned here and continue to serve as role models for others striving to find the independence they need."

The Marine Corps team received the Chairman's Cup award, for the team with the most points at the end of the week, based on medal count.

The Ultimate Champion award, the games' top individual honor, went to team Navy's Special Warfare Boat Operator 1st Class Daniel Hathorn, who said he really enjoyed competing against other service members who, regardless of injury, are constantly striving to excel despite physical or mental setbacks.

"Participating in the Warrior Games is not only an honor," Hathorn Said. "It's an opportunity for me to represent Naval Special Warfare and the Navy on a much bigger level."

Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., Commander U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command said service men and women fight together as a joint team around the world, and this week, they fought together in a friendly way.

"Certainly there were teams out there, fighting for their colors, but I noticed in every circumstance when competition was over, there were arms around each other, there were pats on the back. Healing is an interesting situation a person goes through. Healing is about finding out how far you can push yourself. And I think you can see that there was a lot of healing going on this week."

To cap off the evening and the five-day event country music superstar, multi-platinum singer/songwriter John Rich and Cowboy Troy shared the stage with several wounded warriors who participate in Musicorps - an intensive music rehabilitation program founded by composer Arthur Bloom to improve quality of life and aids healing for severely injured soldiers.

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