Great Outdoor Games star injured in Iraq

  • See below for video of JR Salzman.

    World champion logroller JR Salzman lost a portion of his right arm and suffered damage to his left hand serving with the Army Reserve in Iraq when an improvised explosive device detonated last week.

    Salzman's blog, "Lumberjack in the Desert," featured this update on Dec. 21:

    "It is hard for me to tell you all this but I was hurt by an IED here. My right arm has been amputated below the elbow, my left has four working fingers. My legs are fine so I can still logroll! I am on my way to the hospital in Germany, then back to the states for more care. I am in high spirits. I am going to be OK, but I will have a long road to recovery.

    "Please remember me in your prayers, as well as those who were injured with me."

    Calls to Salzman's family were not immediately returned Wednesday afternoon, though friends confirmed that the blog entry was genuine.

    A fiery, sometimes divisive competitor, Salzman has since the late 1990s been one of the greatest boomrunners and logrollers in the world.

    From 1998 to 2002, he won five logrolling titles at the Lumberjack World Championships. During the six-year run of the Great Outdoor Games, Salzman won 14 total medals, tied for the most among any competitor.

    In 2005 he won the ESPY Award as the Best Outdoor Sports Athlete of the year after winning three Great Outdoor Games gold medals.

    He was deployed to Iraq with other members of the Minnesota National Guard in October 2005.

    Earlier entries in the carpenter's blog described the conditions in his forward area as brutally hot and uncomfortable, but not as dangerous as other areas of Iraq.

    "Here you're more likely to hit a sheep than an IED," he wrote two months before suffering his injury.

    On the three-year anniversary of his joining the military, Salzman emphasized his belief that his actions were helping to free an oppressed people and to protect his own country.

    "If I should have to give the ultimate sacrifice while I am here," he concluded, "I know it is not in vain."

    To date, more than 2,950 American soldiers have been killed and more than 22,400 wounded in Operation Iraqi Freedom.