Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Invictus Games Update

First gold medal of Invictus Games goes to 9-11 survivor
Orlando Sentinel
Stephen Ruiz
May 9, 2016

American Sarah Rudder kisses the 2 gold medals she earned Monday at the Invictus Games at Disney World. (Alex Menendez/Getty Images for Invictus Games)
It was a big day for Sarah Rudder. She was getting promoted in front of the Pentagon.

The date was Sept. 11, 2001.

"We were pulling survivors out at first,'' said Rudder, a retired lance corporal in the U.S. Marines. "The next day, I went to pull non-survivors, and upon pulling non-survivors, I crushed my [left] ankle. I had several reconstructive surgeries, but they couldn't save the leg.''

It seemed appropriate Monday that Rudder claimed the first gold medal awarded at the first Invictus Games on American soil. She won it in women's lightweight powerlifting and later added another gold in indoor rowing.
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Army Nurse Takes Pride in Representing Team USA at Invictus Games
DoD News
By Shannon Collins
Defense Media Activity
May 10, 2016
“I’m grateful for my family to be present to watch me compete, especially having my daughter in attendance for this year’s games, since she wasn’t able to attend the inaugural games,” she said. “These games are very personal for me, given my military career and background, and it’s a blessing to have my family in attendance to experience how much these games mean to me.”
Army Capt. Kelly Elmlinger performs laps in her race wheelchair at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, while training for the 2015 Department of Defense Warrior Games, June 11, 2015. DoD photo by EJ Hersom

ORLANDO, Fla., May 10, 2016 — Fierce competitor Army Capt. Kelly Elmlinger will participate in track and field, swimming and rowing at the 2016 Invictus Games being held this week at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World here.

During the 2014 Invictus Games, Elmlinger’s first foray into the competition, she earned gold medals in the 100-meter and 400-meter wheelchair races, the shot put, and in the cycling time trial; silver medals in discus during track and field, the cycling road race, and the 50-meter backstroke in swimming. She took fourth place in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle in swimming.
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At Invictus Games, athletes forge powerful friendships in beating adversity
Stars and Stripes
Dianna Cahn
May 10, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. — They didn’t know each other when one was blown up and the other was shot a year apart in southern Afghanistan.

By the time they met at a wounded warrior competition, retired Air Force Tech Sgt. Leonard Anderson was missing one arm below the elbow and all but one finger on his other hand. Air Force Staff Sgt. August O'Niell had endured at least a dozen surgeries.

Their lives have intertwined ever since.

They train and compete together. Anderson was there for O'Niell’s leg amputation and again when his daughter was born. O'Niell was there when Anderson, missing his hands, had no choice but to retire from the Air Force.

And when Anderson prepares for the swimming finals at the Invictus Games on Wednesday, his buddy will be there to help him to pull on his Speedo.

Their friendship is the story of these warrior games, where the fierce determination needed to get here comes with a disarming vulnerability. That’s a tough pill to swallow for these guys, but it forges deep friendships and a camaraderie among competitors like none other in the world.
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