The unconquerable spirit of Invictus was brought to the world stage this September in Toronto, Ontario. 550 ill and injured still serving and retired military members from 17 nations accepted the challenge to adapt and overcome, to represent their country through competition, and to push themselves to reach beyond their limits.
While the competitions were fierce, the athletes supported and encouraged their brothers and sisters in arms from all nations, every step of the way. In these Games, the crowds cheering for the medalists cheered just as loudly, if not louder, for the athlete that came in last.
That is what makes these Games so unique and so special. The focus was not on how many medals a country brings home, but on the determination and fortitude to adapt and overcome. The spotlight was not on any one athlete, but on all the athletes and their families as they work together to recover and heal. The injuries and illnesses that brought these men and women to the Games were not what made them stand out; they were a backdrop to the strength, courage, and enduring will to redefine themselves.
As the Invictus Games came to a close on September 30th, the spirit of the Games and the unconquerable spirit of the athletes lives on. In the communities that welcomed the Invictus National Flag Tour and built momentum for the Games … the spirit lives on. In the resilience, courage and determination of the athletes as they continue their journey to heal and grow after the Games… the spirit lives on. In the athletes’ families and friends who stand by their side every step of the way with love and encouragement in their eyes… the spirit lives on. In the Invictus volunteers who put their heart and energy into ensuring the military competitors, their families and friends, and spectators had the Games of a lifetime… the spirit lives on. In the echoes of cheers from the spectators for every athlete that crossed the finish line… the spirit lives on. And in all Canadians who embraced the Games and showed the world that we honour and support those who serve, and we stand by them always… the spirit of Invictus lives on.
The Royal Canadian Legion was incredibly proud to sponsor Invictus Games Toronto 2017, to organize National Flag Tour events at Branches across the country, and to support ill and injured Veterans on their road to recovery. Through the power of sport and the strength of character and dedication, these men and women who served and sacrificed, overcame to become stronger, inside and out. “These games help our injured Veteran athletes recover both physically and mentally,” says David Flannigan, Dominion President. “Their purpose directly aligns with that of the Legion and helps us all raise awareness and advocate on behalf of our Veterans.”
The Legion is here, and will always be here for those who served, for their families. We honour them. We support them. We remember them.
Photos courtesy of Invictus Games Toronto 2017 https://www.flickr.com/photos/invictustoronto/