DVIDS – News – Army Staff Sgt. Rodriguez provides veteran leadership to Team USA at Invictus Games
FORT BELVOIR, Va. – As Team USA athletes prepare to travel to the Netherlands to compete against other nations for the Invictus Games, Staff Sgt. Joel Rodriguez hopes to be a veteran who can keep new athletes focused on the goal and turn off the lights and cameras.
Rodriguez, a Florida native, came to Fort Belvoir with his teammates to train in wheelchair rugby, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair racing, swimming, shot put and discus from 8 to April 13 before heading to The Hague. He knows all about participating in the Invictus Games, having done so when they were held in Sydney, Australia in 2018.
“The competition was extremely tough,” he said. “I think it gives me an edge because I already know what to expect. I know the lights and cameras aren’t going to get in the way. It’s a bit more normal for me now.”
The games were originally scheduled to be held in 2020, but were postponed to this year due to the pandemic. It’s the first time these athletes have faced each other, so it’s crucial that they take advantage of this time to bond as a team.
Rodriguez reckons around half the squad are new to competition at this level
“We really hope to build chemistry and mentally prepare new players,” Rodriguez said. “I think it all comes down to training.”
When asked what he was most looking forward to, he said that while the competition and camaraderie are a big part of the appeal, the main driving force was “to definitely put the red, white and blue”.
|Date posted:||04.10.2022 20:16|
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