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Winnefeld Praises Athletes at Warrior Games’ Kick Off


By Terri Moon Cronk
American Forces Press Service

The 200 wounded, injured, and ill service members and veterans competing in this year’s Warrior Games are the best of the best, Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said today during the event’s opening ceremonies in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm. James A. Winnefeld Jr. speaks to the athletes and their families during the opening ceremonies of the 2013 Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 11, 2013. From May 11-16, more than 200 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans from the U.S. Marines, Army, Air Force and Navy, as well as a team representing U.S. Special Operations Command and an international team representing the United Kingdom, will compete for the gold in track and field, shooting, swimming, cycling, archery, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and U.S. Air Force Academy. The military service with the most medals will win the Chairman’s Cup. Photo by EJ Hersom

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.

Winnefeld called the games, comprising volleyball, wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, cycling, shooting, track and field including discus and shot put events, the “highlight of the year” in his keynote remarks. The games run through May 16 at the U.S. Air Force Academy and the U.S. Olympic Training Center, both in Colorado Springs.

“You’re here because of your willingness to overcome great challenges … of injury [and] illness, both seen and unseen, coupled with the challenges that any superior athlete must overcome in achieving greatness,” Winnefeld told the athletes.

This is the third year Winnefeld has provided opening or closing remarks for the Warrior Games, but he remains awed by the athletes and their challenges, he said.

“Your heroism and determination are an inspiration,” he said to the athletes. “… When I face a seemingly insurmountable challenge, I just think of you, and my day becomes a very nice day.”

Winnefeld expressed his appreciation to Britain’s Prince Harry for attending the games. He was among those on the stage, and was dressed in his British army camouflage uniform.

“We’re so grateful that you brought your fellow warriors from the United Kingdom to be in these games,” Winnefeld told the prince. “We thank the United Kingdom for being such fantastic partners in combat, from one warrior to another.”

The general also credited the United Kingdom for conceiving and hosting last summer’s London 2012 Paralympic Games, in which U.S. service members also competed.

The vice chairman recognized “other elite groups of people” in the audience — the athletes’ families, friends, caregivers.

Winnefeld also praised “the spouses, moms, dads and siblings who unselfishly dropped everything else in their lives to become dedicated caregivers. It’s very hard work, is often overlooked, and you are very special people.”

The athletes and the games become better each year because of the volunteers, hosts and sponsors, “without whom these events simply would not be possible,” Winnefeld said.

“What you’re doing is powerful, and very important,” he added.

Addressing the British and American teams, Winnefeld noted that the Warrior Games embody the “magnificent cause of freedom and liberty.” Each athlete at the games is already a winner, he added.

“Compete ferociously, fairly, safely, and pick each other up. That’s what these games are all about,” he said, adding that the athletes should compete with the Olympic ideals of excellence, respect and friendship constantly on their minds.

“And yes, may the best team win, but remember, we’re all on the incredibly great, same team,” Winnefeld said

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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