Update from the Canadian Press: Prince Harry has announced Toronto will host next year’s Invictus Games, an international sports competition for wounded troops. Harry, who founded the games and is the patron for the competition, says he’s “absolutely delighted” the legacy of the event will continue in the city in 2017.
The first Invictus Games was held in London in September 2014 and involved more than 400 competitors from 13 countries.
In May more than 500 athletes will gather in Orlando, Fla., for the second Invictus Games. The participants, all former or current troops from at least 15 countries, including Canada, will compete in sports events ranging from weightlifting to wheelchair rugby.
Invictus—Latin for “unconquered”—is the title of William Henley’s poem that ends with, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) March 16, 2016
The Paralympic-style event is the brainchild of Prince Harry, who openly modelled it after the U.S. Warrior Games but made it an international competition for wounded veterans of recent military campaigns. The first games were held in London in 2014. Harry was involved in every aspect of its organization.
He may be a prince, but to the participants Harry is also a fellow veteran. He served two military tours in Afghanistan, first as a forward air controller, and then as an Apache helicopter pilot. “The experiences can be stark and long lasting,” he said recently of his deployments. Returning home in 2008, he shared a flight with three seriously wounded British soldiers. “From that moment, I knew I had a responsibility to help all veterans to lead healthy and dignified lives after service.”
He believes in “the power that sport [can] play in the recovery of both mind and body.” In addition to the Invictus Games, he created the Endeavour Fund, which provides seed financing for adventure challenges by veterans. In October, when five veterans completed a 100-day, 1,600-km walk through Britain, Harry was waiting for them at the finish line. And he’ll be there again, come May.