CHICAGO (WLS) -- About 200 veterans and active duty personnel arrived Wednesday morning at O'Hare International Airport, all of them pumped for the Paralympic-style Warrior Games to start on Friday in Chicago.
Groups of athletes were greeted at a USO station set up in Terminal 1, and from there athletes will get on board buses that will take them to their hotel downtown.
In the eight year of the Warrior Games, this is the first time they will be played off base, with events taking place at Soldier Field, the United Center, McCormick Place and other venues.
The games include eight adaptive sports, including shooting, sitting volleyball, track and wheelchair basketball. Athletes from all military branches, as well as the British and Australian armed forces, will participate.
The athletes are not just those wounded in combat, but also include some with illnesses diagnosed while in service, such as MS, and others with PTSD.
The games aim to show the resilient spirit of our armed forces in the face of adversity. For the athletes, the camaraderie is a big motivator.
"It's overcoming and adapting and realizing that every chapter is just a new chapter. Some of the things you just pick up and keep on going and they become the new normal," said Anthony Pearson, a Warrior Games athlete.
"They know where you're coming from. They know where you've been. They know all the hard work you've put into it. You feel normal being around that group of folks. It's really rewarding when that happens," said Ben Seekell.
An opening ceremony kicks off the games on Saturday at Soldier Field with Jon Stewart hosting, along with performances by Kelly Clarkston and Blake Shelton. Tickets are $20.
Most of the games are free, all are open to the public.
CLICK HERE to get tickets.
CLICK HERE to see the full schedule.
CLICK HERE for more information about the 2017 DoD Warrior Games.
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