Michelle Obama helps open 2012 Warrior Games in Colorado Springs
Tuesday, 01 May 2012
May 1 - First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama was the guest of honour at the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Warrior Games and she spoke to the 1,600 people in attendance as the Paralympic-style competition for 220 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans got underway at the Olympic Training Centre in Colorado Springs, United States.
The Warrior Games, presented by Deloitte, are taking place for the third consecutive year at the Olympic Training Centre and will run until May 5.
They are being hosted by US Paralympics, the Paralympic division of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).
The Opening Ceremony took place on the Olympic Path and it included a march of the 220 competitors.
Highlights of the event saw both the US and British national anthems played, with Britain featuring at the event for the first time ever, before a stunning F-16 flyover by the US Air Force.
"The Opening Ceremony was a great celebration that both delivered inspiration and evoked reflection," said USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.
"As an organisation, we're incredibly proud of being fully committed to advancing Paralympic sport and providing additional sport opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities.
"We're grateful to Deloitte and the rest of our partners for making this significant endeavour such a success.
"Let the Games begin."
Along with a touching message from the First Lady (pictured top, left) and Blackmun, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (pictured top, right) and Deloitte chief executive Robin Lineberger spoke to the crowd.
The Ceremony also saw the Torch Relay that culminated with the honorary Torchbearers First Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell (pictured above) of the US Army and Captain Simon Maxwell of Britain's Royal Marines lighting the Cauldron.
During the course of this week, six US Armed Forces teams, consisting of the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy and Special Operations, and a United Kingdom Armed Forces team, competing for the first time ever at the event, will face off in the six sports of including archery, wheelchair basketball, cycling, swimming, track and field and sitting volleyball.
The competition is also supported by the Department of Defence, US Department of Veterans Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation, The Daniels Fund, AT&T, BP, DeVry, Anheuser Busch and Chobani.
April 2012: Prince Harry to meet 2012 Warrior Games competitors in Washington
April 2012: Michelle Obama to attend 2012 Warrior Games Opening Ceremony
April 2012: British troops invited to take part in Warrior Games
December 2011: Warrior Games to return to Colorado Springs in 2012