US first lady Dr Jill Biden and Britain's Prince Harry joined on Monday to host an online event for athletes involved in the Warrior Games, an event for wounded US military veterans, which was cancelled because of Covid concerns.
The US Department of Defence Warrior Games, first held in 2010, is normally an annual event "that celebrates the resiliency and dedication of wounded, ill, and injured active duty and veteran US military service members", Dr Biden's office said.
The 2021 Warrior Games were due to start this week in Orlando, Florida, "but were cancelled to ensure the health and safety of the athletes and their families due to Covid-related concerns", the White House said.
Dr Biden said: "I wish we were here in person today celebrating your victories on the court or at the track or in the pool.
"You've worked so hard to prepare for the Warrior Games, only to have them be taken away by the pandemic."
Prince Harry, a combat veteran who served two tours in Afghanistan, is founder of the Invictus Games, a multi-national sports event for wounded service members and veterans.
He first attended the Warrior Games in 2013 in Colorado, and started the Invictus Games in 2014.
“These games are so important, whether it's the Warrior Games or the Invictus Games," Prince Harry said.
"It is ultimately the reminder of service both at home and overseas. It is about caring for our physical and mental fitness, and for those who have sacrificed so much."
US Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin and Ken Fisher, head of the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing for families of patients receiving medical care at military and Veterans Affairs medical centres, were part of the event.
Dr Biden, Prince Harry, Mr Austin and Mr Fisher had planned to be at the games before they were cancelled.
Dr Biden's stepson, the late Beau Biden, was a US army veteran and served a year in Iraq during the war.
"This community has shouldered the enormous weight of our conflicts for two decades now and all of you carried the physical and emotional reminders of that sacrifice," she said.
"It's a debt we can never repay but we can honour your service and work every day to make your path a little easier."
Prince Harry joined Dr Biden in commending veterans and their families.
"It's been fantastic to see you in action in various parts of the world, giving everything that you've got to so many people, to not just those who wear the uniform but to the families as well," he said.
"A lot of them wouldn't be here without you so, so thank you."