Celebrating 5 years of the Invictus Games
The Duke of Sussex, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, recently joined staff, supporters and former competitors at an event to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Invictus Games.
The event, generously hosted by the City of London Corporation at Guildhall, celebrated the power of the Invictus Spirit in changing people’s lives and demonstrated the leading role of the Invictus Games Foundation in delivering and inspiring recovery and rehabilitation through international sport and competition.
Guests at the event heard from JJ Chalmers, Invictus Games London 2014 competitor for Team UK and now TV presenter, who said: “The Games helped us heal physically and mentally, but more crucially it gave us a sense of service, of duty, a purpose, a mission. It was not the end of the journey, it was just the beginning”. He then presented a brand new highlights film from the Invictus Games Foundation:
Retired U.S. Army Captain William Reynolds, who competed in 2014, 2016, and 2017, spoke of the partnerships and the organisations behind the Invictus Games, particularly thanking Jaguar Land Rover, Fisher House Foundation and ISPS Handa for their longstanding support, adding that the Games “not only reunite competitors with those who have a common and shared struggle, but also [connect them to] the public and private sector who support them and their families throughout”.
The Duke of Sussex gave closing remarks outlining his pride at the journey of the Invictus Games and of the competitors, “this has always been about the competitors and their families. What they represent, the strength and determination, the grit, every part of it. I think, in the last five years, these guys have completely changed how we view disability, how we view mental health. This is all them.”
With the Games due to take place every two years and the host city of the Invictus Games 2022 to be announced later this year, the Foundation is developing plans for the years in between.
One area is to expand on existing knowledge and support the development of research around the needs and requirements of international wounded, injured or sick Servicemen and women, beginning with a collaboration with the Royal Society at a conference in London next March.
Increasing the knowledge around the Invictus Games and its impact has been a particular focus of the Foundation since 2017. Independent researcher Celina Shirazipour, who is currently conducting research funded by Forces in Mind Trust into the ongoing impact of the Invictus Games, said:
“The Invictus Games is changing the landscape of what we see in terms of adapted sport. We’re seeing things like improved confidence and then strong connections that are being built amongst the competitors. [The question is now], what can we learn from this for any other country that wants to put a programme together?”
The Opening Ceremony of the inaugural Invictus Games in London took place on the 10th September in 2014, after the Warrior Games in 2013 inspired The Duke to establish the international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women.
The Invictus Games London 2014 saw over 400 competitors from 13 nations competing in front of thousands of spectators. Since then, the Games have taken place in Orlando in May 2016, Toronto in September 2017 and Sydney in October 2018 with more competitors and nations taking part. The Hague will host the fifth Invictus Games in May 2020.
Further information: The Royal Society will hold a ‘Transforming our Future’ meeting in March 2020, in collaboration with the Invictus Games Foundation, which will bring together leading experts from industry, academia, government and the wider scientific community to discuss recent advances in technologies and treatments that have the real possibility of helping individuals recover from injury across the health spectrum.