Invictus Games underway in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla. — The 2016 Invictus Games are in full swing Monday after the opening ceremonies Sunday night at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

The Olympic-style event features over 500 athletes from 14 different countries in events like cycling and rowing. Unlike the Olympics, the participants are wounded members of the military.

Channel 9 spoke with some of the athletes representing the USA, who said they’ve been training for the event for years.

"This does definitely give us another mission. We're all pursuing something bigger than ourselves. It helps get us out of bed (and) it helps get us through recovery,” Ryan Pinny, of the U.S. Air Force, said. %



Stefan Leroy came in second in his rowing heat and Katie Smith, his girlfriend, said she had to laugh to keep herself from crying. She said her boyfriend's resilience is amazing.

Leroy lost his legs four years ago while serving in Afghanistan when he stepped on an explosive device. He was carrying another serviceman who had just stepped on one.

"(I've) seen him struggle to walk, to run and now being able to run track tomorrow in the 400 and 1,500 (meter run) and keep trying new adventures and to be strong. It's amazing to see that," Smith said.

Mike Leroy, Stefan Leroy's father, said it's nice to see his son compete after seeing him sitting in bed "just looking gray."

"I have a great support network. My family is great, my girlfriend Katie is great (and) my friends are great," Stefan Leroy said.

The first games were held in London in 2014 after Prince Harry pushed for the games as a way to help wounded veterans heal and thrive.
"Invictus Games and Warrior Games gives you something like that, something to really focus on and drive you ahead regardless of what's happened to you," U.S. Army Ranger Howie Sanborn said.
The only official results show the U.S. with one medal and the United Kingdom with six.