I wanted to take a moment to introduce everyone to the Invictus Games. If you know what they are, then fantastic and hopefully I'm preaching to the choir and getting you excited for the 2017 games. If you have not heard of the Invictus Games then you're in the right spot.
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair. It is more powerful than government in breaking down racial barriers.”
What are the Invictus Games?
A little bit of history about the games. In 2013 Prince Harry attended the US Warrior Games, in Colorado. He was there to observe the British Team compete and to open the games for that year. His involvement and observation of the US Warrior Games inspired him to bring the paralympic-style games to the international stage. [^1]
The first Invictus Games were held in London, U.K. and recognized over 400 competitors from across 13 different nations, competing in 9 adaptive sports.
Watch this YouTube video from HRH Prince Harry explaining his thoughts and rationale behind the games at the launch of the London 2014 games.
In 2016 the games were held in Orlando after a year long hiatus to allow for planning and in order to raise funds. The Orlando games were very successful. Held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World, with 500 competitors, and 14 nations taking part. It saw the likes of Morgan Freeman [^2] narrate the opening ceremonies and First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden kick off the games.
This year the games are being held in Toronto from September 23rd to September 30th. It's a monumental time in Canada as Canada celebrates its sesquicentennial (150th) birthday. There is a lot of fervor in the country, at the moment, and that will only accentuate the excitement around the games. This year the games are expected to host 550 competitors from 17 allied nations.
Canadians have a powerful feeling of empathy for soldiers, veterans and their families. They recognize that service members experience a wide range of physical and psychological challenges when serving and after they have left the military. The empathy, however, is often latent; there is little opportunity to show support for active duty and veteran service members and their families as the military experience, for most Canadians, is far removed from their day-to-day existence. When Canadians are reminded of the sacrifice of its military members—often as a result of tragedy, such as the death of a soldier—they respond with an outpouring of support.
The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 will provide an opportunity to awaken the latent empathy that Canadians feel for its military and transform it by empowering the Canadian public, politicians and corporations to solicit long-term advocacy, donations and support for the country’s service members and military families in need.[^3]
The 2017 Invictus Games should be a great event to close out the year of celebrations that have been happening around Canada for its 150th Birthday. Many of the events are free and open to the public across the Greater Toronto area. Some of the events include archery, sitting volleyball, wheelchair basketball and tennis to name a few.
I hope that I have intrigued you and that these men and women will inspire you. I will be back with more on the Invictus Games, over the coming weeks, as we lead up to the opening of the games in September. Be sure to follow me @Jasonbu - Steem ON!.
The 2017 Invictus Games Series
[^2] By DoD News Features (160508-D-DB155-012) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0) or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons