Athletes and guests at this year’s Warrior Games will be treated to a repeat engagement, as Grammy-award winning artist Kelly Clarkson will headline the event’s opening ceremony June 2 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Other performers for the June 2 event at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium have not been announced. Free tickets will be available at the Warrior Games website beginning May 8.
About 300 wounded warriors representing five U.S. service branches and U.S. Special Operations Command, as well as entrants from Australia, Canada and Great Britain, will compete in the June 1-9 event. It’s the ninth-annual Warrior Games and the fourth since the Defense Department took over the event, which had been hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs.
The move will mark the second time a service academy has hosted the competition for wounded service members.
The DoD-run 2015 competition took place in Quantico, Virginia, with 2016’s event at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, New York, and last year’s hosted by the Navy in Chicago.
This year’s Warrior Games includes an expanded list of medal events, adding powerlifting, indoor rowing and time-trial cycling to the roster. Wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis events also will be held as exhibition events, Warrior Games director Air Force Col. Gina Oliver told Military Times.
Preparations continue for the June event, Oliver said, with volunteer opportunities still available. She praised the work of organizers and contractors so far, spotlighting the Air Force Academy personnel who’ve hosted the planning. She also praised Clarkson for reprising her role in the opening ceremony.
“We’re very excited about that; she’s a huge supporter,” Oliver said. “That means the world to all of the people we’re doing this for.”