The eyes of the sporting world have turned to Sochi, Russia, and the beginning of the XXII Olympic Winter Games.
Exactly one month after the opening ceremonies, though—on March 7—Fisht Olympic Stadium will play host to a second opening ceremony: that of the XI Paralympic Winter Games, a 10-day celebration of athleticism and competitive spirit like none other.
Competitors in 10 disability categories will compete in five events: alpine skiing (which includes two snowboarding events), biathlon, cross-country skiing, ice sled hockey and wheelchair curling.
The Semper Fi Fund is proud and honored to be represented on the largest athletic stage in the world by an incredible array of Team Semper Fi athletes. These remarkable men—all of whom made incredible sacrifices proudly wearing the uniform of our nation’s military—will be competing in the Paralympics wearing a very different uniform, that of Team USA:
|• Sgt. Omar Bermejo, a Marine veteran from Grand Rapids, Michigan (single-arm amputee) will be competing in Nordic skiing.|
|• Petty Officer Second Class Tyler Burdick, a Navy veteran from Salt Lake City, Utah (double leg limb salvage) will be competing in snowboarding.|
|• Petty Officer First Class Kevin Burton, a Navy veteran from Boulder, Colorado (visually impaired) will be competing in Nordic skiing.|
|• Lt. Dan Cnossen, a Navy veteran from Topeka, Kansas (double above-the-knee amputee) will be competing in Nordic skiing.|
|• Cpl. Travis Dodson, a Marine veteran from Deming, New Mexico (double above-the-knee amputee) will be competing in Nordic skiing.|
|• Sgt. Jon Lujan, a Marine veteran from Littleton, Colorado (incomplete spinal cord injury) will be competing in alpine skiing.|
|• Cpl. Paul Schaus, a Marine veteran from Buffalo, New York (double above-the-knee amputee) will be competing in ice sled hockey.|
|• Sgt. Josh Sweeney, a Marine veteran from Phoenix, Arizona (double above-the-knee amputee) will be competing in ice sled hockey.|
In the days ahead, we’ll be posting in-depth profiles of some of these awe-inspiring athletes to help you learn more about them and the events in which they’re competing. You’ll learn what it means to compete at this level, and your pride in the accomplishments of our service members will reach—well, Olympian proportions!
See related articles:
Meet Our Paralympic Athletes
Meet Lieutenant Commander Dan Cnossen
Meet Petty Officer First Class Kevin Burton
Meet Petty Officer Second Class Tyler Burdick
Meet Sgt. Omar Bermejo
Meet Sgt Jon Lujan