The 2019 Wounded Warrior Games — Tampa, Florida

Hey All,

Over the past few weeks I attended various portions of the 2019 Wounded Warrior Games in Tampa, FL. As you know prior to the start of these games I helped many wounded veterans train at the MacDill Air Force Base gym in preparation for the actual games. Thought you might enjoy some of the YouTube videos that I have included in this post. These wounded warriors are truly impressive and don’t let their physical challenges effect their motivation to reach their highest potential. They should inspire us all. They are truly magnificent!

Enjoy the videos!

More than 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from all four U.S. military branches, U.S. Special Operations Command and five partner nations are in the Tampa area until June 30 competing in adaptive sports as a part of the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games, hosted by U.S. Special Operations Command.

This is the second time the Warrior Games are being held in public venues and not on a military installation. The games are free to watch, open to the public and offer a rare opportunity to watch and be inspired by wounded warriors who have shown incredible resilience as they overcome significant physical and psychological challenges to compete in adaptive sports all around Tampa.

Crowd support is a huge benefit for the athletes.

“Warrior Games provide opportunities for athletes to heal and to regain confidence,” said Scott Danberg, this year’s sports director. “When the service members walk into the ceremony and hear the crowd cheer, the value and support really sink in.”

The opening ceremony was held June 22 at Amalie Arena. The arena was packed and the ceremony kicked off with a procession of teams as they entered to high-energy music and were welcomed with standing ovations from the crowd. Comedian Jon Stewart was the emcee of the opening ceremonies. It was his fourth year participating in the Warrior Games and when asked why he makes the time to participate, he was quick to answer. “I keep coming back to the games for these athletes,” he said. “They don’t give up, so I’m not going to give up on them.”

The torch was carried by multiple athletes and passed around the arena before finally being used by USSOCOM Commander Army Gen. Richard Clarke, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and WWE wrestler Titus O’Neill to light the cauldron. Clarke and Castor spoke to the crowd along with Mr. Ken Fisher, chairman and CEO of the Fisher House Foundation and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. All spoke about the unbreakable spirit of the athletes and their families and how they are proof life continues after becoming wounded, ill or injured, which inspires many. The show ended with a concert from country music star Hunter Hayes.

The athletes are fiercely competitive and train throughout the year to prepare, but the games are about so much more than just the medals earned. Through adaptive sports and reconditioning activities, service members get help with healing in a multitude of ways throughout their recovery and reintegration process: mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.

“Being part of the Warrior Games is both rewarding and inspiring,” said U.S. Army Spc. Christopher Dalton Mask, Army golf team member. “It’s motivating to still feel part of something bigger.”

Teams representing the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, Navy, U.S. Special Operations Command, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands and Denmark are competing in archery, cycling, golf, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis and track and field.

The Paralympic-style sports competition will be held throughout the Tampa area, including at Amalie Arena, the Tampa Convention Center, Clearwater’s Long Aquatic Center and the University of South Florida.

The Warrior Games are scheduled to conclude June 30 with the closing ceremony back at Amalie Arena. For more information, stories, imagery, medal count and more, visit www.af.mil/warriorgames2019.

14 thoughts on “The 2019 Wounded Warrior Games — Tampa, Florida

    • Yes they are. Happy 4th! BTW may be coming to South Beach next Sat/Sun with Marco, his wife Rosalia and our other Italuuan friend Emilia. Marco was invited as a guest by the French Embassy for a Bastille Day Sat evening function and we we planning on staying one more night on Sun to enjoy South Beach. He is trying to get approval for me and our other Itlaian friend Emilia to go. Won’t know for sure until early next week. If you will be around and this materializes maybe we will have a chance to meet for a short while in Sunday?

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        • Ok Dolly will let you know if thecMiami trip materializes. Might be hard although to plan a full night together with dinner at your homr on this trip because we wouldn’t be arriving until late afternoon on Sat, then we’ll be tied up at the French Embassy affair that evening and then the next morning (Sun) we have to move from Biscayne Bay in Miami to another hotel in South Beach. Of course Marco and the others have never been to Miami before and they will be very interested in taking in all the sounds and sites day and evening in and around South Beach and surriunding area and you know how that goes, especially with Internationals. Also parking is around South Beach is pretty tough. So, once you have your car garaged and secured hard to get motivated to want to move it. Very grateful for your willingness to have us all over and to cook up a storm but might be very tight due to really just having one day there on Sunday. Also, Emilia the other Italian girl (from St Pete) has a son somewhere in Miami that she needs to see at some point on that day as well. Again let me find out all the plans and times of what needs to be done and what they want to see and possibly at what time we might possibly meet on late Saturday afternoon on sometime Sunday if that works for you. (Maybe just for coffee or drinks). Planning right now to stay that Sun at the Crown Plaza South Beach Z Ocean Hotel on Collins Ave. Not sure how close this hotel is to you? Let me know and that will give me a better idea of how easy it might be to meet. Again, if it was just me…would gave more flexibility but we’d be traveling in a diplomatic car so. I’m having to go with the flow. Why don’t you also let me know how your next Sat afternoon and Sun day/night looks in terms of when you’d most likely be free. That will help me to kind of help form the schedule when talking to the 3 others. Thanks Dolly. You’re the best!

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          • Crowne Plaza is 2 blocks away from us, and hopefully, Luis Mejia will be playing Flamenco next door, if you are lucky. Saturday afternoon will be at services, so that’s out, but Sunday we are totally free, so any time that’s good for you guys, is good for us. Just let me know. We’ll be happy to meet for drinks or anything you’d like. Have fun traveling in a diplomatic car!

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          • Oh. That’s great Dolly. You are very close. W/I walking distanc so will be easy to meet up with you at some point on Sun. Will contact you next week when I confirm if I will be definitely comming to Miami.

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          • Looks so far at this point that Miami is a go. Sunday would be the easier day for me as well as we would be driving to Miami on Saturday from Tampa and staying in Biscayne Bay that late afternoon and going to that event sponsored by the French consulate that evening and at this point have no idea as yet where that affair is occurrng at and at what time. I was the one who suggested to my friend Marco that it would be nice to change hotels on Sunday to South Beach as I thought they would enjoy having a chance to see and hang around South Beach for the day. I had enough hotel points to make arrangements for the one night stay at the Crown Plaza South Beach Z-Ocean Hotel and told them that I would take care of that night. The other hotel is not that great (from what I could see) as they were trying to keep the cost low, since they have to pay for it out of their own funds, but I think it would have been a bit boring over there and driving back a forth from that location to South Beach would have been less convenient.
            For now let’s keep Sunday late afternoon say 5 or so tentatively to meet. Hard at this point to know what all the plans are, but I do know that Marco and his wife will want to go on the beach for a while that day and not sure if Emilia (the other Italian girl going) will plan on visiting her son on that day that lives somewhere in. Miami? It might be just me stopping by by to see you for a short while depending on what the others plan to do or it might be possible for all to go? Just hard to tell as yet as I have no idea of all their interests and as you know when your with others it makes things a bit tricky. I figured if things get tight, I might be able to leave them for a while on Sunday and just walk the few blocks over to where you live (since only a few blocks) which would probably be easier for you unless we end up all meeting as a group somewhere early that evening. So for now, let’s keep this flexible until I can get a better idea on what is going on. Please, do not block your whole Sun on my account as you might have things you need to do, especially since I can’t definitively know all the details as yet.
            Will converse later in the week as it’ll give me a chance to figure things out a bit more.
            If you have a suggestionon where to possibly meet on Sunday evening if that works out to do as a group the please feel free to suggest. Prefer a more casual place where dress is more relaxed and the place is reasonably priced.
            When you get the chance Dolly, text me a quick note at my cell 214-405-7114 so I’ll have an easier way to interact with you about the trip later on in the week
            Thanks
            Gary

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          • I am texting you, Gary, and we’ll play it by ear. South Beach is always fun, but I hope you know that most of the fun starts in the evening. I hope we have a chance to catch some live Flamenco music, but that’s in the evening. We’ll make plans as we go along, of course, don’t worry.

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