Torch Passed to 36th National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Salt Lake City

Passing the torch from Dallas to Salt Lake City for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games June 25, 2015.

National Veterans Wheelchair Games 2015 closing ceremonies in Dallas, Texas. Photo by Rick Yeatts.

As the 35th National Veterans Wheelchair Games came to a close Friday June 26, 2015, thoughts quickly moved to the planning of the 2016 Games in Salt Lake City.

Nearly 600 athletes watched as the 35th Games came to a close Friday evening, June 26, and wondered what’s to come in the Beehive state when the 36th Games arrive in June of 2016.

“I think that Salt Lake City will offer a hometown, family feel to the Games,” said Tom Brown, founder of the NVWG and Games director for Paralyzed Veterans of America.

While the official theme and logo are still being determined, the obvious underlying theme will be the beauty and the natural wonders of Utah, said Jill Atwood, Chief Communications Officer for the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System.

“Veterans and their families are going to think it’s extraordinarily beautiful,” she said.

The 36th NVWG will offer 19 wheelchair sports spread out through the entire Salt Lake Community. “We are excited to be bringing the Games to Salt Lake City. People will see true competition and realize that a disability doesn’t mean inability.” says Dave Tostenrude, Director, NVWG for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Salt Lake City’s experience in hosting the 2002 Olympic and Paralympic Games will mean streamlined transportation and access to hotels and venues, Brown said. Lodging will be in close proximity to Games’ venues, and the transportation provided had a role in Paralympic transportation in 2002, he said. The annual Block Party will take place in Olympic Village, he added.

“There’s a lot of history in Salt Lake City as far as the Olympics are concerned,” Brown said. “Many in the community remember the Paralympics and what a great time they had.”

There is nothing better than watching these men and women reach goals and achieve greatness beyond what they thought they could. We are so thrilled to be a part of the magic. See you in 2016! Atwood said.

The NVWG are co-presented by Department of Veterans Affairs and Paralyzed Veterans of America.