The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus.
Most of us will never know the horrors of combat or the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women many of whom suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries, while serving us. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries or by their illness? How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability to an international audience? HRH The Duke of Sussex has not only asked but he has answered these questions.
On a trip to the Warrior Games in the United States in 2013, The Duke of Sussex saw the positive impact sport could have on the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. He vowed to take the idea and launch a similar event in the UK. The Invictus Games Foundation was established and in 2014 London hosted the inaugural Invictus Games, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with more than 400 competitors from 13 nations.
Led by an experienced and deeply passionate board of trustees, the Foundation supports the delivery of future Invictus Games, manages the process of selecting future Games hosts and promotes the importance of sport and physical activity in the rehabilitation journey of wounded, injured and ill service members and veterans.
The second Invictus Games took place in May 2016 in Orlando, Florida, and built on the excitement of the London Games with more than 500 competitors from 15 nations. The Games then moved to Toronto in September 2017 and in 2018 it was Game One Down Under for Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
The Sydney Games saw 491 competitors from 18 nations compete in 11 medal sports and participate in golf and wheelchair tennis. The Games also recognised and thanked the families and friends for their role and the challenges they share in supporting our wounded warriors. Sydney also hosted more than 1000 accompanying family and friends who were in the stands cheering.
The Hague in the Netherlands will host the next Invictus Games in 2020. Find out more at www.invictusgames2020.nl
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.
by William Ernest Henley