TAMPA (FOX 13) - The Defense Department's Warrior Games are coming to Tampa in 2019. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson announced it Monday, and Tampa wounded warrior Mike Nicholson was among the first to know.
"To be able to showcase the city I grew up in, the city that supported me for so much of my life, it's great," says Nicholson, a medically retired Marine who lost three limbs to an IED in Afghanistan in 2011.
The Warrior Games is an Olympic-style competition started by the Pentagon in 2010. Nicholson competes in multiple events including swimming, golf, and basketball. He has won numerous medals in national and international adaptive sports competitions.
He made it his mission to help bring the games to his hometown.
"It was Mike's spirit that got us past the finish line in Tampa. I have no doubt about it," said Luis Viera, a Tampa city councilman.
Viera helped organize local, state and federal officials to push for the Tampa games. The city's bid was put together by Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base.
The games have been held on military bases, but last year in Chicago, Warrior Games events were held at venues across the city.
Nicholson and local officials hope it can be set up like that in Tampa.
"I want all of the city of Tampa and our communities cheering on these American heroes," added Viera.