The 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games came to a close June 30 in Tampa, Florida.
This year’s games were co-hosted by U.S. Special Operations Command and the city of Tampa. For only the second time since the games began in 2010, the events for the annual Paralympic-style competition were held in public venues instead of on military installations.
The venue change helped this year’s games break several Warrior Games records, according to the Tampa Bay Times, including the most athletes and public turnout.
“It’s the largest crowds that we have ever had at a Warrior Games from the public’s perspective," said Col. Cary Harbaugh, director of this year’s games, in a statement to Military Times. "From the added sports that we have never had, to the most athletes that we have ever had at the Warrior Games, it’s just been absolutely wonderful and phenomenal across the board.”
“Best I’ve ever seen in a Warrior Games when it comes to public turnout," Harbaugh continued.
Photo gallery: 2019 Warrior Games
1 of 13Army veteran Sgt. Jonathan Weasner, Team Army, prepares to launch a shot put during the 2019 DoD Warrior Games field events at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Fla. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ethan T. Miller/Navy)
2 of 13Air Force Senior Airman DeMarcus Garrett, Team Air Force athlete, powers through Team Navy defenders during the Department of Defense Warrior Games wheelchair rugby finals in Tampa, Fla., June 28, 2019. (Staff Sgt. James R. Crow/Air Force)
3 of 13Marine Corps veteran Pfc. Isaac Blunt competes in the 50 meter backstroke on June 29 using his own unique swim technique during the 2019 DoD Warrior Games. (Master Sgt. David Long/Air Force)
4 of 13Marine Corps competitors get ready for the 2019 DoD Warrior Games cycling competition in Tampa, Fla., June 23. (Sgt. Annika Moody/Marine Corps)
5 of 13From left: Cpl. John Willans, Team United Kingdom, and Staff Sgt. Brian Biviano celebrate after they won their final match of wheelchair tennis, June 23, 2019, Tampa, Fla. Biviano teamed up with Willans to create team “Warrior” since there weren’t any other UK members participating in wheelchair tennis. (Staff Sgt. Sahara L. Fales/Air Force)
6 of 13Air Force Staff Sgt. Kevin Greene, Team Air Force athlete, competes in the 200-meter dash during the Department of Defense Warrior Games track competition in Tampa, Fla., June 22, 2019. (Staff Sgt. James R. Crow/Air Force)
7 of 13Coast Guard Maritime Enforcement Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Cox competes for Team Navy in archery at the 2019 Department of Defense Warrior Games on June 24 in Tampa, Fla. (Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Tyrell K. Morris/Navy)
8 of 13Marine Corps competitor Sgt. Durrell Jones celebrates with his coach after a successful lift during the powerlifting competition at the DoD Warrior Games in Tampa, Fla., June 24, 2019. Jones broke the Warrior Games record for Men’s 72Kg bench press. (Cpl. Benjamin Whitten/Marine Corps)
9 of 13Retired Air Force Capt. Kristen Morris competes in wheel chair racing at the 2019 DoD Warrior Games on June 22 at the University of Southern Florida. (Master Sgt. David Long/Air Force)
10 of 13Lauren Montoya, of Team Special Operations Command, competes in the track competition at the University of South Florida track and field stadium in Tampa, Fla., on June 22 during the 2019 DoD Warrior Games. (Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos/Air Force)
11 of 13Team SOCOM Army Master Sgt. Henry Taylor competes in indoor rowing during the 2019 DoD Warrior Games hosted in Tampa, Fla., June 25, 2019. (Master Sgt. Barry Loo/Air Force)
12 of 13Actor John Stewart acknowledges the athletes at the 2019 DoD Warrior Games closing ceremony in Tampa, Fla., June 30. (Staff Sgt. Marianique Santos/Air Force)
13 of 13Coast Guard Capt. Daryl Schaffer, center, celebrates with Team Navy after being awarded the Heart of the Team award on June 30 during the closing ceremony of the 2019 DoD Warrior Games in Tampa, Fla. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ethan T. Miller/Navy)
As noted by the Tampa Bay Times, the DoD has been concerned about the games’ sustainability since event space had to be built on military bases to host the events. Harbaugh told the Times that the games came in under budget thanks to Tampa’s support.
“We wanted the wounded warriors and their families to enjoy the community. And we knew when we brought it to Tampa Bay we had that," Harbaugh said in his statement to Military Times.
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Approximately 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans are participating in DoD Warrior Games. The athletes represent the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Special Operations Command. Athletes from the U.K. Armed Forces, Australian Defence Force and Canadian Armed Forces will also compete.
More than 300 wounded, ill and injured service members and veterans competed. The participants hailed from all four of the military branches and included athletes from five partner nations. This year’s Warrior Games featured 13 adaptive sports: archery, cycling, indoor rowing, powerlifting, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby and golf.
Next year’s Warrior Games will be held in San Antonio, according to Fox 13 in Tampa.