Warrior Games at West Point
When the Warrior Games kick off Wednesday on the historic grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. some 250 injured and ill servicemembers and veterans will begin their gold medal quests in eight adaptive sports.

But for the people who have spent the last year preparing for the first Army-sponsored Warrior Games, the event is about much more than winning, said Col. Thomas Sutton, the planning and operations chief for Army Warrior Transition Command, which led the games’ preparations.

“It’s really about these athletes and their families who have overcome so much adversity,” Sutton said. “It’s about recognizing these men and women and continuing to build awareness and understanding – bringing into the spotlight their resiliency.”

The 2016 Warrior Games, the second games planned by the Defense Department and the sixth annual event, will run through June 21. The events include sitting volleyball, track and field, archery, cycling, wheelchair basketball, shooting and swimming.

Adaptive sports are a major part of the military’s programs to help injured troops rehabilitate as they transition back into service or into civilian life. Often athletics help the servicemembers gain confidence and, for many of them, provide an activity they can compete in the rest of their lives, Sutton said.

West Point was the obvious choice for the Army to host the games, he said.