Invictus Games raises the bar on Warrior Games, say American athletes
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
American athletes were full of praise for the Invictus Games, claiming its scale and support dwarfed their own Warrior Games that first inspired the adaptive sports tournament over here.
Despite losing to Great Britain in the final at the Copper Box Arena on Sunday, USA’s sitting volleyball athletes were not in the least bit bitter about their experience across the pond.
“You’ve set the bar really high,” said Sean Hook, 37, from South Carolina, when we asked how Invictus compared to the Warrior Games at the post match press conference.
“Not only has it changed our lives but it has changed the culture too. How people feel and see double-amputees, someone in a wheelchair, things like that.
“Everybody out there is being changed mentally, [they’re saying] ‘I can’t believe this guy can do this, it’s amazing’.”
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Former US Army staff sergeant Alfredo de los Santos won gold in the men’s hand bike IHB2 time trial – four years after a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) blew off his right leg.
“The Warrior Games are like an introduction to the sports for the guys fresh out of hospital, but this is on a different level,” he explained.
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“It’s more competitive and the competition is more demanding – it’s like a mini Olympics and I love it.
“I think the Invcitus Games will get really big. We never expected anything like this, I’m really impressed.”
Texan Robbie Gaupp, who won gold, silver and bronze on the track, said: “I think this is beyond what the Warrior Games is expected to be. Now we have to up our ante if we are going to have something like this.
“The Paralympics isn’t big in America, but it should be. There needs to be a movement. Over here you are a superstar if you are a Paralympian and in America you aren’t.”
He added: “I like [the Games] because not only does it bring our countries together – even those we have had foreign wars with – but it’s amazing that at the end of the day we are all fighting the same battle and that battle is with ourselves.”
For more news on the Invictus Games and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, visit our Parklife section.