There are few greater honors than getting to represent your country on the world stage. But for 17 service members who do that every day in the field, going to the Olympics in Rio, Brazil this summer holds twice the privilege.
“I’m dead.” The thought settled on Brad Snyder in the middle of a cloud of dust and smoke raised by the blast of a homemade land mine. He lay in the fetal position on a patch of grass next to a ravine in southern Afghanistan. The Navy lieutenant couldn’t make out any blood through the haze. His arms and legs were still attached. He didn’t know anyone who’d survived one of these explosions with all of their limbs intact.
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.