Mission complete for Canada at Warrior Games

Comedian and former talk show host Jon Stewart (centre, top row) poses for a group photo with Team Canada athletes during the Warrior Games in Tampa, Fla. Photo credit: Soldier On

Comedian and former talk show host Jon Stewart (centre, top row) poses for a group photo with Team Canada athletes during the Warrior Games in Tampa, Fla. Photo credit: Soldier On

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

Veterans and currently serving members from Victoria played a vital part in Team Canada’s inspirational performance at the Warrior Games in Tampa, Florida.

This year’s annual multi-sport competition for ill or injured serving military and veterans was held June 21 to 30.

Team Canada’s delegation was organized by the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group’s Soldier On program and was comprised of 36 athletes competing in 13 sports: archery, cycling, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track, field, wheelchair basketball, indoor rowing, powerlifting, wheelchair rugby, wheelchair tennis, and golf. Canadians were among 300 athletes from the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Denmark, and the Netherlands who competed at this year’s games.

Canada won 21 medals – 10 gold, five silver and six bronze.

Master Corporal (Retired) Frieda Van Putten of Victoria won a silver medal in women’s cycling time trials, and gold in the women’s swimming relay. Captain (Retired) Jennifer Sizer, also from Victoria, captured bronze in women’s powerlifting.

Canada’s strong medal showing was buoyed by Master Seaman Laura Livesey of Yellowknife who won two gold medals in 100-metre freestyle swimming and the 50-metre backstroke, and two silver medals in 50-metre freestyle and 50-metre breaststroke.

Leading Seaman Desi Cozier, who works at Fleet Maintenance Facility Cape Breton’s weapons engineering shop, competed in rowing, wheelchair rugby, shooting, and discus and shotput in the track and field competition.

LS Cozier had previously enjoyed playing recreational soccer, cricket, and beach volleyball before suffering multiple injuries. He is currently recovering from a laundry list of sports injuries dating back to 2014 including a broken tibia and fibula, broken finger and tear of the medial collateral ligament (MCL). He said the Warrior Games helped him overcome side-effects of his physical injuries that include depression and anxiety, largely created by not being able to participate in the sports he loves.

“Participating in the Warrior Games was an awesome confidence boost for me, and everyone involved. The big highlight was seeing the healing take place in team members right before my eyes.”

His teammate, Lieutenant (Navy) Christina Seed, a naval reservist currently posted to the CAF Transition Group, agrees the Games change lives.

In 2016, she suffered permanent brain and inner ear injuries during a slip and fall during a deployment that severely affected her balance and basic motor skills. Participating in the Games and pre-event training has gotten her out of the house.

“Getting ready for the Games gave me a new energy, challenge and sense of accomplishment,” said Lt(N) Seed. “There were several inspiring moments and seeing other athletes with missing limbs and body parts out there competing really made me believe I can do this too.”

Enhancing their experience was the opening and closing ceremonies where the Canadian athletes marched out under the Canadian flag to a cheering crowd. They also got to meet the Warrior Games Ambassador, celebrity talk show host and comedian Jon Stewart. 

“You could clearly see his care and passion for us when he was thanking participants,” said LS Cozier. “I said thank you to him for everything that he is doing for the Warrior Games and he said ‘No, thank you for what you guys are doing.’”

Organized by the United States Department of National Defense, the Warrior Games was established in 2010 and were the inspiration for His Royal Highness Prince Harry to create the Invictus Games. For full results and information about the Warrior Games visit their website www.dodwarriorgames.com.

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