The 4x100 relay at the 2013 Warrior Games featured one of the most dramatic finishes of the entire Games. The Marine team went in as the undisputed champs, winning each of the three previous years. But the Army team was determined and they had a secret weapon as their anchor, Sgt. Ryan McIntosh.
McIntosh lost his right leg in 2010 when an IED exploded in Afgahnistan, just seven months after he joined the Army. Six weeks later, he already had his first prosthetic and began running soon after. Doctors even took his prosthetic leg from him at one point because he was working out too much.
McIntosh first came to the Warrior Games in 2012 and left feeling like he still had something to prove.
"I tripped in the 200 meter and I was winning. I fell, rolled over, put my leg back on and I got fourth. So that left me hungry for this year."
You could tell if you saw him on the track. McIntosh won medals in seven of the eight events he competed in this year, including the 4x100 relay. He got the hand-off from his teammate, Staff Sgt. Carlton Duncan, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in Iraq in 2007. He watched McIntosh pull ahead to win by just two-hundredths of a second.
"I was pretty excited to be on the team and even more so excited to take it away from the Marines," Duncan said. "Deep down inside, I kind of reflected for a few minutes to think that each and every one of us was meant to be on that team."
Duncan and McIntosh are still active duty with the Army. Sgt. McIntosh is an adaptive sports coordinator, helping other wounded warriors get physically active again.
"It’s what I wanted to do because somebody helped me through my darkest times," McIntosh said. "I want to get people like me into the Warrior Games, so they can compete and realize that their life’s not over. They can still do anything that they want."