His Royal Highness Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex
These Games have shone a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of service men and women and their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit. These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning round to clap the last man in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together, not wanting to come second, but not wanting the other guys to either. These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit.
THE INVICTUS GAMES STORY
Most of us will never know the full horrors of combat. Many Servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, visible or otherwise, whilst serving their country. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries?
How can they be recognised for their achievements and not given sympathy? Prince Harry asked these questions. On a trip to the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013 he saw how the power of sport could help physically, psychologically and socially. His mind was made up. London would host the inaugural Invictus Games, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel.
The word ‘Invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It embodies the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and what these tenacious men and women can achieve, post injury. The Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation, and generate a wider understanding and respect for those who serve their country.
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 Games shined a spotlight on the sacrifices these men and women made serving their country, and their indefatigable drive to overcome.
The 2014 Invictus Games was about much more than just four days of sport – it captured hearts, challenged minds and changed lives.
‘INVICTUS’ – A POEM BY WILLIAM ERNEST HENLEY
Generations have drawn on the words of William Ernest Henley’s poem for strength during times of adversity. Henley was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness. The title means “unconquered” and the 16 short lines of the poem encapsulate the indefatigable human spirit, which is at the heart of the Invictus Games.
Invictus, by William Ernest Henley