Invictus Games: Using the Power of Sport to Change Lives
What are the Invictus Games?
This week, hundreds of athletes from around the world participated in a multi-sport event called, the Invictus Games. The games were created by Prince Harry in 2014 as a way for wounded, injured, or sick servicemen and women to take part in sporting competitions.
No two participants have the same injuries. Some are visible, some aren’t. Some are physical, some aren’t. Regardless of the challenges these men and women face, the purpose of the Invictus Games is to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for the inspiring work that these wounded warriors continue to do.
Invictus is a Latin word that means unconquered and embodies the fighting spirit of the brave service men and women who participate in the games. In their lives, they have been tested and challenged in ways that most of us can’t comprehend. Still, they have not been overcome by hardship. They continue to embody a fighting spirit by embracing a sense of community and well-being that enables them to reclaim their future. The Invictus Games draw inspiration from the short poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley, who was an amputee himself.
Invictus Games 2018 in Sydney, Australia
In its 4th year, this 7-day event will hold 500 competitors from 18 nations competing in 12 sports. Countries include the U.S., U.K., Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, German, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Romania, and Ukraine.
The games include archery, athletics, indoor rowing, Jaguar and Land Rover driving, powerlifting, road cycling, sailing, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis.
Inspirational Stories from the Invictus Games
Here are a few of the many inspiring and uplifting stories that came out of this year's Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia:
- David Travadon, a participant from team France, won a gold medal in Road Cycling at this year’s Invictus Games. Several years ago, Travadon’s life was saved by Cyril Dellatorre, when he was picked up and carried off on the battlefield. Cyril and his wife were at the games to witness Travadon winning the gold medal in Road Cycling. It was an emotional and perfect moment. Watch the moving interview here.
- The second 2018 Invictus Games story involves Dutch team captain van de Kuilen and close friend and teammate Veltink. Van de Kuilen’s legs were amputated 10 years ago after a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan. Veltink was involved in the tragic incident. They were silver medalists in this year’s IR3 four-minute endurance indoor rowing contest. You can read more about this inspirational story of tragedy and redemption here.
- Tilda, age 12, was born with fibular hemimelia and had to have her leg amputated when she was just two years old. Her prosthesis is decorated with a rainbow of colors that serve to celebrate her uniqueness, rather than conceal it. Tilda’s school took part in the 2018 Invictus Games this past week for an educational and inspirational experience. The games gave the children the opportunity to see others who experience physical challenges in life excel. Tilda and her classmates were able to participate. Read more about Tilda’s experience here.
The 2018 Invictus Games Were An All-Around Success
The 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia attracted 500 competitors from 18 nations to compete in 11 medal sports and participate in golf and wheelchair tennis. The Games would not be possible without the competitive spirit of the participating wounded warriors, along with the communal support of families, friends, volunteers, and the many financial supporters that help make the games a reality.
The 2018 Invictus Games were an all-around success. We can’t wait to hear more inspiring stories from next year’s games.