The Invictus Games LONDON. Opening Ceremony 10th September 2014 WHO INVICTUS EXISTS FOR: Invictus Games competitors are the men and women who have come face-to-face with the reality of making a sacrifice for their country. They are the mothers, fathers, husbands and wives who put their lives on the line and suffered life-changing injuries. These people are the embodiment of everything the Invictus Games stands for. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven they cannot be defeated. They have the willpower to persevere and conquer new heights.
The Invictus Games are about survival in the face of adversity and the strength of the human spirit. They will send a positive message about life beyond disability. Over 400 competitors from 13 nations will take part in the Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. Teams will come from the Armed Forces of nations that have served alongside each other. The Games will use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country.
The event, which is championed by Prince Harry, will be a celebration of resilience and passion. The Games will shine a spotlight on Armed Forces personnel and veterans who have put their lives on the line for their country demonstrating how they and their families are valued, respected and supported. For competitors, it will offer a memorable, inspiring and energising experience in their journey of recovery.
‘Their stories are as amazing as they are unique’ Prince Harry’s speech in full…
‘Over the past eight years, I have witnessed the whole cycle of life changing injury; evacuating soldiers and local Afghans to hospital; flying home from Afghanistan with some of those critically injured; meeting others in hospital coming to terms with life changing injuries; and finally trying to keep up with 12 wounded veterans on our way to the South Pole. ‘I can only begin to imagine how challenging the journey of recovery is, but the admiration I have for these men and women, to move beyond their injuries, is limitless. ‘Last year, through The Royal Foundation, I visited the Warrior Games in the United States.
‘Seeing people who, only months earlier, had been told they’d never walk again, now winning medals in front of their family and friends was breathtaking. ‘I knew that anyone would be inspired by what these men and women had achieved, not just other servicemen and women, but all those adjusting to life post injury. ‘Each of them have come such a long way; even making it to the start line is a huge achievement. Their stories are as amazing, as they are unique. ‘However, they all share one thing – sport. Sport has been the vehicle for their recovery, allowing them to channel their passion into what can be achieved, rather than what can’t. ‘No longer are these inspirational men and women defined by their injury but as athletes, competitors and team mates. ‘Over the next four days we will see some truly remarkable achievements.
For some of those taking part, this will be a stepping stone to elite sport but for others it will mark the end of a chapter in their recovery, and the beginning of a new one. ‘Either way, you can be sure that, everyone who takes to the track, pool or field of play will be giving it their all. ‘I have no doubt that lives will be changed this weekend. ‘It gives me great pleasure to welcome the 13 nations to London and to say how delighted I am that many of you are joined by your families, recognising the vital party they play in your recovery. ‘The British public’s support for our servicemen and women has been exceptional; I know they will show you the same over the coming days. ‘Finally, I would like to thank you for the tremendous example you set. Your stories move, inspire and humble us. You prove that anything is possible, if you have the will. ‘Welcome to the Games. Welcome to Invictus.’
* More than 400 competitors
* A total of 13 countries represented – alongside the UK team will be competitors from the US, Denmark, Estonia, France, Italy, Canada, Netherlands, Australia, Afghanistan, Georgia, New Zealand and Germany.
* Four days of competition.
* Competitions are taking place in nine adaptive sports: athletics, swimming, power-lifting, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, road cycling, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and archery.
* Five venues, including those used during the 2012 London Olympic Games
* An audience of 5,000 is expected for Wednesday’s opening ceremony at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. http://invictusgames.org
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley 1875
This man is the epitome of a wounded warrior. “Reconnaissance Marine Corporal Todd Love – wounded in Afghanistan, proceeds to skydive, surf and run the spartan race with a gas mask, no legs and one hand.” They say that ‘the greatest casualty is being forgotten.’ Let us never forget their sacrifice… Yours Aye.
B.Z. Prince Harry – done and dusted in six months…