If you want to see some truly tough competitors in 2017, look no further than Toronto, which will host the third Invictus Games in September.
More than 600 athletes from 16 countries will be competing in a dozen sports. These wounded warriors—soldiers and veterans who have become ill or injured in combat zones—are discovering new ways to overcome their physical and psychological wounds by taking on new challenges in competitive sports.
“2017 is a year steeped in rich Canadian military history, marking the anniversaries of historic battles that shaped and defined the nation,” Prince Harry said in a video announcing the event. “It’s also the year that Canada will commemorate its 150th anniversary of Confederation. I cannot think of a better way to mark this milestone than by paying tribute to the soldiers and veterans who have served their country so bravely and to support them along their journey to recovery. You really will not want to miss this.”
Prince Harry, who served in the British army in Afghanistan, founded the Invictus Games in 2013 after attending the Warrior Games, a competition for ill and injured American armed forces men and women. Invictus is Latin for “unconquered.”
“I know first hand how difficult it can be to struggle with physical and mental-health issues that are related to the service you have given to your country,” said Bruno Guévremont, captain of Team Canada 2016. “Competing in the Invictus Games on home soil will provide me and my fellow military competitors with the pride and confidence needed to push our minds and bodies beyond what we thought was possible—to represent our country shoulder to shoulder, as we once did.”
The event will be making use of the facilities established for the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto. Eleven Canadians took part in the inaugural Invictus Games in London in 2014, garnering two silver medals, in archery and swimming. About 100 Canuck soldiers and veterans are expected to participate in the 2017 Invictus Games.
The lead-up to the Games will include a national torch relay that will visit all 32 Canadian Armed Forces bases, from Esquimalt in the West to Alert in the Far North to Gagetown in the East.