The daughter of an Ada man competed with nearly 200 other injured service members in the inaugural Warrior Games at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Marine Corps Cpl. Brittney T. Hutchins, daughter of Paul Ellenberg of Ada, was a motor transportation specialist.
The games were an introduction to official Paralympic sports for the athletes as well as building camaraderie and raising general awareness of Paralympic sports.
There were seven main event categories participants could compete in: track and field, swimming, bicycling, archery, shooting, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.
“Finishing with a medal for my Marine Corps team would be great,” said Hutchins.
Hutchins took gold in the 50-meter freestyle swimming event and helped the Marine Corps team take gold in the sit down volleyball tournament. She also competed in the road cycling and 50-meter backstroke events.
All of the athletes competing in the games have been wounded or injured in one way or another. Some carry outward physical reminders of their experiences, missing limbs, scars, or paralysis. Some carry their scars on the inside, in the form of Traumatic Brain Injuries, strokes or
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of the athletes competed against others who were similarly disabled.
“Wounded Warrior Battalion-West has the wounded athlete rehabilitation program that keeps us active in sports. I have been cycling with the program for five months, and the games were something I wanted to be able to do and accomplish crossing the finish line,” said Hutchins.
While participants competed in a number of individual events, they were also a member of a service unique team made up of prior or currently serving athletes and coaches.
“My favorite part has been the camraderie, everyone has supported each other in every part of the games. When someone isn’t competing they are at another event supporting each other,” said Hutchins.
Athletes came from across the United States to represent and compete for their services but while they were here, they became family as soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardmen cheered each other across the finish line. In these games, there may have been some who crossed last, but no one went home a loser.