Though the Summer Olympics came to a close last weekend, another group of athletes are getting ready to head to London for their shot at glory. The 2012 Paralympics are set to kick off on August 29, and many of the athletes on the United States squad are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, NBC News reports.
There are 20 members of the team who have served in military, and they are competing in everything from cycling to soccer. Among them is retired Marine Rob Jones, who had both his legs amputated at the knee as the result of an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Afghanistan. For Jones, a rower, the games aren't just about winning a medal.
"I wanted to compete, you know, do something," he told NBC. "If you have a goal then you can develop a plan. If you have a plan then you can actually be going toward something, as opposed to just going."
Jones' ambition is why the Paralympic Games were founded in the first place. The idea came from a neurologist treating British fliers injured in World War II who developed the concept to help his patients regain their independence. This year, the games feature more than 20 events and run through September 9.