In 2014 Prince Harry of Wales set out to make a difference for injured soldiers returning from war, and created the Invictus Games. He started the international sporting event to inspire recovery, help support rehabilitation and to raise awareness and respect for those who serve their country. The Paralympic-style multi-sport event features adaptive games such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball and indoor rowing. The first Invictus Games took place in March of 2014 at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, England. This year they are being hosted in Toronto, Canada and the opening weekend was a great success!
On Saturday evening spectators filled Toronto’s Air Canada Center to welcome the 550 competitors from 17 nations. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Prince Harry both gave moving speeches at the opening ceremony. In 2008 Prince Harry, who at the time was third in line for the British throne, was deployed to Afghanistan. On his return flight home, the coffin of a soldier was brought onto his flight, and it was at this time he knew that he needed to use his platform to help honor those returning from war.
In his speech on Saturday Prince Harry thanked all of the participants for their service, and stated “Some of you have cheated death and come back stronger than before. You are all winners. You are proving to the world anything is possible.” Canada’s popular Prime Minister was greeted with a roaring welcome and went on to give moving speech of his own. Trudeau talked about how everyone should consider what they can do to make a difference, and support the men and women who have sacrificed so much.
The games will continue through September, 30th and will conclude that evening with a closing ceremony. To view the complete schedule of events, watch live streaming matches or to learn more about the Invictus Games please visit www.invictusgames2017.com
Check out the video below from Retired US Air Force and Invictus Games competitor Patrick Roberts, as he talks about the importance of the event: