10 Powerful Photos That Will Change Your Mind About What It Means To Be An Athlete

Health & Fitness
Army Staff Sgt. Monica Martinez competes in the women's 800-meter wheelchair event during the track competition.
Photo by Spc. Jamill Ford

Athletes, friends, and family gathered at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, this week to attend the 2015 Warrior Games, where men and women from all branches came to compete against one another in an array of sports. Like all committed athletes, they trained and prepared for their chosen events, kept to strict diets, and intense regimens. Unlike other competitions, every athlete at the Warrior Games has or continues to serve their country, and was seriously wounded or injured, since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

What makes the Warrior Games truly exceptional are the athletes themselves. Their stories are varied, but at the center of each is a sense of perseverance in the face of adversity.

This year, approximately 250 veteran and military athletes from the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Special Operations Command and the British Armed Forces were in attendance. Over the course of the 10-day competition, which began June 18, athletes competed in a wide range of sports including: cycling, wheelchair basketball, archery, field, track and swimming, among others.

Founded in 2009, the Warrior Games is a Paralympic-style competition that features eight adaptive sports for wounded, ill, and injured service members. Adaptive sports and athletic reconditioning are a fundamental role in the rehabilitation and reintegration process for injured service members and veterans.

Here are 10 photos from this year’s Warrior Games that speak to the willpower and determination of the competitors who overcame extreme hardship to compete in the events this year.

Going the distance. Will Reynolds, Team Army, participates in the 100-meter sprint.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Terry W. Miller Jr.

A shout out. An athlete in the 2015 Warrior Games waves to supporters on the sidelines before stepping up to compete in shot put.

Photo by James Clark

Just a little farther. Sgt. 1st Class Michael Smith, 35, anxiously watches to see where his shot put will fall.

Photo by James Clark

Regroup and re-engage. Marine Corps veteran Raymond Hennagir competes in the 2015 Warrior Games Wheelchair Basketball competition.

Photo by Lance Cpl. Andrianna J. Daly

Watching it sail away. Marine veteran Sarah Rudder, 32, competes in the Warrior Games for the first time, and watches to see where her discus will land during the women’s discus event.

Photo by James Clark

Aaannnnd it’s good. Retired Marine Sgt. Anthony McDaniel, 26, releases his shot put during the men’s event. This is McDaniel’s third year competing in the Warrior Games.

Photo by James Clark

A running start. Army veteran Andy McCaffrey hurls the shot put during the men’s event.

Photo by James Clark

Determination. Army Staff Sgt. Monica Martinez competes in the women's 800-meter wheelchair event during the track competition.

Photo by Spc. Jamill Ford

Warming up. Air Force veteran Jennifer Stone, 33, warms up for the women’s discus competition.

Photo by James Clark

It’s all about attitude. Retired Marine Sgt. Anthony McDaniel takes a brief rest before his next competition and poses for the camera.

Photo by James Clark

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