A local man won a medal in an international competition this past month.
It wasn't the Olympics, but it was still a big international gathering as Dustin Gabehart competed for the United States of America and won a bronze medal in a cycling event at the third annual Invictus Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom and it is an international adaptive multi-sport event for wounded, injured or sick armed forces personnel and their associated veterans. It was named Invictus, which is Latin for unconquered or undefeated.
Gabehart's event was the Recumbent Bike Race, in which he is in a reclined position. The finals took place on Sept. 27 at High Park.
"I was really, really happy about it," Gabehart said. "Cycling was the one event that I didn't put a lot of time into training. But the endurance and perseverance to finish that race was pretty amazing. It was a long distance race and the ability to keep pushing and pushing, that really helped me."
Gabehart finished the race in an even 32 minutes. He placed behind gold medalist Pete Rutland of Australia, who had a time of 28:39, and Ralf Kleindiesnt of Germany, who had a time of 30:25.
Gabehart was very versatile in the games as he participated in three other events, including two in athletics (the international term for track and field) and powerlifting.
"I did seated shot put, seated discus and and the bench press," Gabehart said. "I as happy with my shot put and I got a personal record in that one. The powerlifting and discus, I was competitive, so I was happy about it."
Gabehart had the fifth-best mark in the shot put at 9.25 meters or just more then 30 feet. He was 10th in the discus at 21.13 meters, which is just more than 69 feet. The shot put took place on Sept. 24 and the discus was on Sept. 25 and they both took place at York Lions Stadium.
In powerlifting, Gabehart competed in the men's midweight on Sept. 26 at Mattamy Athletic Centre and he was 11th with 125 points.
Gabehart attended La Junta High School where he graduated in 2012. While at La Junta, he competed on the football and track and field teams.
"I played football and I threw a little bit of shot put and discus my senior year," Gabehart said. "Those are the only two sports I did throughout high school regularly."
After high school, Gabehart enlisted in the United State Marine Corps. He was first stationed at Camp Pendleton in California before being deployed to Afghanistan.
"I was in boot camp in August 2012, so I had the summer right after I graduated," Gabehart said.
While in Afghanistan, Gabehart was a member of the First Combat Engineering Batallion at Camp Leatherneck. It was in Afghanistan he was injured by an improvised explosive device (IED).
"We did ground clearance and we looked for IEDs," Gabehart said. "I was injured by an IED."
Gabehart returned to La Junta after his service. Right now he is taking classes at Otero Junior College.
"I've been helping my family as much as I can," Gabehart said. "I haven't quite figured out what I want to do yet, but I'm definitely staying busy."
The Invictus Games are attended through invitation only. Gabehart said that if he is invited again, he would like to attend next year's games in Sydney, Australia.
"You have to be invited to it and I'm applying to be accepted," Gabehart said. "There's 90 participants per team, so that's the cap. But if I am invited, I'll definitely go. Just having the experience to travel around the world like this and being with other service members. It's a great time."
Team USA won the most medals at this year's games with 134. It also won the most gold medals with 41, the most silver with 38 and the most bronze with 55.