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Let the London 2012 Paralympic Games Begin!

In early August we watched gifted athletes give unbelievable performances as they reached for the gold for the United States. This week begins the quest for an arguably even more impressive group of athletes. On August 29th the London 2012 Paralympic Games begin and run through September 9th with thirty-eight U.S. service members/veterans participating. The U.S. Olympic Committee has a division called the Paralympic Military and Veterans Programs that "provides post-rehabilitation support and mentoring to American servicemen and women who've sustained physical injuries such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, amputation, visual impairment/blindness and stroke. Veterans are introduced to adaptive sport techniques and opportunities through clinics and camps and are also connected with ongoing Paralympic sport programs in their hometowns." For more information visit TeamUSA.org.

One of the spokesmen for the Paralympic Games is SFC Josh Olson. Olson is the first active duty soldier to participate in the Paralympic Games. His story is similar to many Paralympians and is inspiring to all of us. Following is an excerpt from an interview with Amy Rosewater for TeamUSA. To read the entire story and more stories on military Paralympics go to TeamUSA.org.

Following is his story: "When I first enlisted, I had big aspirations," Olson said. "I wanted to try out for the Ranger regiment. I wanted to take my military career to a high level." His voice trails off. To fill in his blanks, he was in Iraq when he was hit by a grenade. He was in a medically induced coma and awakened to find out his right leg had been amputated. Instead of following his dream of becoming an Army Ranger, he was undergoing rehabilitation at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. Not long after his injury, he received the Purple Heart from President George W. Bush, and six months later, Olson became the first athlete with a physical disability to be nominated to the Army's World Class Athlete Program.

Olson received his inspiration from another Paralympic veteran. According to Olson "about 18 months into his rehab, he met a man named John Register, and the encounter changed his life. A veteran of Desert Storm and Desert Shield, Register also was an All-American track star at Arkansas who twice competed in the U.S. Olympic Trials. But he was injured in a hurdling accident and lost his leg. He went on to swim at the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games and earned a silver medal in the long jump at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games. Register is now an associate director for community and military programs for U.S. Paralympics."

In 2004, Register was working with a program to encourage military members to use sports as a model for rehabilitation, whether it was at the Paralympic level or just on a recreational basis. He was making routine trips to Walter Reed and met Olson when the two were in the rehabilitation pool. "I told Josh, 'You can get back in the fight,'" Register said. "I thought, 'John is cool, but there is no way I could be an elite athlete,'" Olson said. But Register informed him otherwise, and that's when Olson, who was athletic in his high school days but by no means an elite athlete, realized he could utilize his shooting skills and take them to a new level. The more Olson trained, and the more success he had in the sport of shooting, the more involved he became in working with fellow soldiers who had been injured in combat and were seeking direction in their new world. He was able to show them that they could continue to serve their country both as active-duty soldiers and by competing internationally for the United States. He has become the ideal spokesman, not just for the U.S. Army but for the Paralympic Movement. "My story didn't end with my injury," he said. "It's like what I tell other soldiers, 'There's a whole new chapter. You just have to write it.'"

Olson's story is powerful and there are many more. Visit YouTube.com and search Returning Veterans London Bound for articles on several other paralympians.

Viewing the London 2012 Paralympic Games

The following is a press release from TeamUSA.org on August 14th outlining broadcast and online viewing of the London 2012 Paralympic Games:

"... the United States Olympic Committee announced broadcast and online coverage plans for the London 2012 Paralympic Games. By creating original video content for the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel, YouTube.com/USParalympics, while also partnering with NBCUniversal and the International Paralympic Committee, U.S. Paralympics will provide the American public with more coverage of the U.S. Paralympic Team than any previous year. Beginning August 29th visit YouTube.com to watch daily video highlights packages via the U.S. Paralympics YouTube channel. The videos will chronicle the competition, athlete stories and will also include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. Videos chronicling the lead-up to the Games will also be available in late August."

 

SFC Josh Olson Kari Miller Sgt. Robert Brown

 

Announcement

We are pleased to announce that Mr. Adam Jeup, long-time driller and a recent competitor in the ISIS World Drill Competitions, has joined the Glendale Parade Store team. Adam will be providing periodic contributions to the Bugler on the subject of drill. Click here for more information from our home page.

Glendale Closed Labor Day

Glendale Parade Store will be closed Monday, September 3 for Labor Day. Any orders placed online will be given top priority when we return on Tuesday, September 4 and will be processed in the order in which they were received.

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