The Team USA Sled Hockey team return to the Winter Paralympics as defending gold medal champions
Paralympians ready for Winter Games in Sochi, Russia
Thousands of athletes, volunteers, Paralympic officials and media representatives from 45 countries have gathered in Sochi, Russia for the winter Paralympic Games that begin Friday, March 7. The games are poised to be the largest in history and are the first in Russia.
The 2014 games will feature 575 athletes competing for 72 medals in five adaptive sports categories – alpine skiing, biathlon, cross country skiing, sled hockey and wheelchair curling. Notable is the addition of snowboarding, with two medal events under the alpine skiing category.
The USA will be represented by a delegation of 80 athletes comprised of 22 women and 58 men, its largest team ever. Team USA enters the Games fourth in total medals won in winter Paralympic events with 96 gold, 97 silver and 68 bronze medals. Norway leads with a total of 315 medals, followed by Germany and Austria.
Included on the US team are 19 military veterans, 10 of whom are alumni of the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP), a non-profit organization that provides services and support to veterans and service members who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, co-incident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001. WWP helps their alumni find jobs and fulfilling life activities, such as adaptive sports. Alumni competing in the winter Paralympics are:
Tyler Burdick (Navy) – Snowboarding
Kevin Burton (Navy) – Biathlon
Heath Calhoun (Army) – Skiing
Dan Cnossen (Navy) – Cross Country
Travis Dodson (Marine) – Skiing
Joel Hunt (Army) – Skiing
Jon Lujan (Marine) – Skiing
Rico Roman (Army) – Sled Hockey
Andy Soule (Army) -Skiing
Josh Sweeney (Marine) – Sled Hockey
For live coverage of many of the events, visit Team USA online