Athletes competed in Paralympic-style event last week in Toronto
The third Invictus Games ran in Toronto from Sept. 23 to 30. The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for military members who have been injured, both physically and mentally, in active duty.
This year’s games saw 550 competitors from 17 nations throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
12 sports were played, including:
- Driving Challenge
- Indoor Rowing
- Sitting Volleyball
- Wheelchair basketball
- Wheelchair rugby
- Wheelchair tennis
Prince Harry was inspired to start the games after watching the Warrior Games, put on by the United States Department of Defence, in 2013. The first Invictus Games was held in London in 2014 the second was held in Orlando the year after.
Canada was chosen for the third Invictus Games due to its empathy, understanding, and support for military personnel and their families. Through hosting, it is hoped that Canada will be empowered to show long-term support to those that serve.
The next Invictus Games will be held in Sydney next year.
“Invictus” means unconquered, unsubdued, and invincible, which is the spirit of the Games. On the Invictus Games website, Prince Harry notes that the event has “shone a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of servicemen and women, their families and the ‘invictus’ spirit.”
The motto of the games is “I AM,” which is a shortened version of the final lines in the poem “Invictus,” by William Ernest Henley. The poem reads: “I am the master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.”
The Invictus Games is about more than sports. It’s a platform for personal achievement and overcoming hardship. The games remind us of the sacrifices the men and women of the armed forces make.
Additionally, the games provide an opportunity for education. VIMY, the 2017 Labrador Retriever mascot, helped to educate people about Canada’s military history, as well as the dedication of military members through school and community events.
The Invictus Games involves adaptive sport, which is modified sport for individuals with disabilities. Adaptive sport is often used by injured military personnel during their rehabilitation.
Playing sports during rehab gives military members a sense of belonging, and connections with others who are in similar situations. It can also raise self esteem, and quality of life. The Canadian Armed Forces has a program called “Soldier On” that supports those who are injured during active duty through adaptive sport.
Photo courtesy of Toronto Invictus Game Logo