By Richard Rhinehart
July 10, 2014, Washington, D.C. – A team of 16 injured Canadian, Danish and American veterans participating in World T.E.A.M. Sports’ inaugural CanAm Veterans’ Challenge successfully completed their 766 mile bicycle and hand cycle ride from Ottawa, Ontario to Washington, DC July 4.
Finishing their journey in front of America’s Capitol, the participating veterans showed that persons with disabilities can accomplish exceptional activities. Although each veteran sustained injuries ranging from blindness to paralysis to loss of limb, traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress, they discovered that by working together as a team to overcome challenges they were stronger. For many of these veterans, the close friendships they established while riding together will continue well beyond the end of the Challenge.
During the 16 day ride, the injured veterans and nine able-bodied riders traveled through numerous communities large and small, rode busy highways and quiet country lanes and met with several community and civic organizations and groups. The team also visited historic and cultural destinations such as the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York and the Civil War battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
In Washington, the team attended an Independence Day outdoor reception hosted by the staff of the Canadian Embassy. Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer welcomed the riders and accompanying support team to Washington, and provided access to the building’s inspiring top floor views of the Capitol. Serving as the ambassador to the United States since 2009, Ambassador Doer said the embassy would like to play a role in the June 2016 CanAm Veterans’ Challenge. The upcoming ride, in planning by the non-profit World T.E.A.M. Sports, is scheduled to depart Washington and ride north to Ottawa, finishing on Canada Day, July 1.
Following the reception, riders pedaled to the staging area for the annual Independence Day Parade on Constitution Avenue, sponsored by the National Park Service. Here, the team joined many other organizations, marching bands, festive balloons and floats in the patriotic parade that attracted an audience estimated at more than 100,000 persons. As Hurricane Arthur continued to churn well to the northeast, the mostly cloudy skies cleared to sunshine and temperatures warmed, providing a fitting end to the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge.
Corporate sponsors for the CanAm Veterans’ Challenge included Realty Capital Securities LLC, American Portfolios Financial Services, Benson Botsford LLC, Exit 10, Gerstein Fisher, Penske Truck Rental, Pershing and Freshbikes. Partners included Wounded Warriors Canada and Soldier On from the Canadian Armed Forces.
About World T.E.A.M. Sports
World T.E.A.M. Sports is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization chartered in North Carolina and headquartered in Holbrook, New York. Since 1993, World T.E.A.M. Sports has organized athletic events for disabled and able bodied citizens – mountain climbing, white water rafting, biking, and more. Four things always happen at our events: (1) Disabled participants build self-confidence and physical fitness; (2) The disabled provide a role model for other disabled citizens, encouraging them to take up physical activities; (3) The disabled become a moving inspiration to other participants and to spectators when they see that disabled individuals can meet challenges beyond anyone’s imagination; and (4) The disabled and able-bodied participants learn to work as a team to overcome those challenges. World T.E.A.M. Sports changes lives through sports.