First Lady to open ceremony for 2012 Warrior Games

First lady Michelle Obama will speak Monday in Colorado Springs at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Warrior Games, a competition for more than 200 wounded, ill and injured military members and veterans.

Back for a third year, the Warrior Games will be April 30 – May 5 at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

More than 200 wounded, ill and injured soldiers and veterans are expected to participate in seven sports including archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field and wheelchair basketball.

The games started in 2010 as an introduction to Paralympic sports for injured service members and veterans.

Since then, the competition has become a springboard for many service members and veterans to keep playing sports in their communities. Medical treatment facilities, Warrior Transition Units and Wounded Warrior Battalions East have seen a 20 percent increase in sports program participation by wounded, ill and injured service members.

The competition, which will be hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee, is also supported by the Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, USO, Fisher House Foundation and the Bob Woodruff Foundation.

Retired 1st Lt. Melissa Stockwell of the U.S. Army, the first American female soldier wounded in combat in Iraq, and Capt. Simon Maxwell of the British Royal Marines will be the honorary torchbearers for the event.

”It is an honor to have the first lady and these two amazing role models as the torchbearers for the 2012 Warrior Games,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said. ”We thank them for their support, as well as all of our countrymen and women, for their hard work and sacrifice on behalf of our great nations.”