There’s been plenty of banter between Prince Harry and the Obamas in the run-up to the second Invictus Games, which are currently taking place at the Walt Disney World Resort’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.
Even the Queen joined in the fun, appearing with her grandson in a video recorded as a response to a mock “trash talk” video released by the President and First Lady of the United States.
But now that it’s time to get down to the serious business of competing, what are the Games and who will be taking part in this spectacular sporting event?
What are the Invictus Games?
The Invictus Games is a sports event for serving servicemen and veterans who have suffered injuries or illnesses. The Games were established by Prince Harry, who was inspired by his visit to Colorado’s Warrior Games in 2013 and decided to set up an international version.
The inaugural Games took place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London, in September 2014, and more than 400 athletes took part. The participants came from thirteen different countries: the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and New Zealand. Iraq was also invited to take part but didn’t send any athletes to compete.
Medals were awarded in nine sporting events: athletics, wheelchair basketball, swimming, cycling, wheelchair rugby, sitting volleyball, archery, indoor rowing and power lifting. A driving challenge was also organised by one of the event’s main partners, Jaguar Land Rover.
The organisers of the Games decided not to publish an official table comparing the number of medals won by each nation, as the event’s primary aims were to “inspire opportunity and honour achievement”.
The name “Invictus” is a Latin epithet, meaning “unconquered” or “undefeated”, and it’s also the title of a famous poem by William Ernest Henley about finding strength during times of adversity.
The 2016 Games – What’s on the Programme?
This year, Jordan has also been invited to participate in the event, taking the total of countries asked to attend to fifteen, and more than 500 sportsmen and women are set to compete. In addition to the nine sports featured in the inaugural Games, the programme for the 2016 Games includes wheelchair tennis.
Who Is Competing for the UK?
The United Kingdom’s team includes 110 servicemen and women. Here are details of just a few of the athletes who will be representing the UK:
David, who took home two gold and two silver medals from the Games in 2014, is the UK’s Team Captain for the 2016 event. He will be competing in the swimming again this year. He comes from North Yorkshire and is the Deputy Director of the Games. Shot by the Taliban in Afghanistan, he still has a bullet lodged in his lung, and he also suffers from PTSD.
Caroline served in the British Army as part of the Royal Logistics Corp, as well as the Adjutant General’s Corps, 1 Logistic Support Regiment. She is competing in the archery, shot put, discus, swimming and cycling events, as well as the 100m sprint. She has reduced mobility and a loss of feeling in her lower left leg, and also suffers from PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Stuart served in the RAF and will be competing in the wheelchair rugby. He suffered life-changing injuries in 2013 due to an incident involving an IED. He had a bilateral leg amputation, a plate inserted in his forearm and also suffered nerve damage in his shoulder.
Lieutenant Kirsty Wallace, from the Royal Navy, broke her back in 2007 and suffers from incomplete paraplegia. She will be competing in the wheelchair basketball, swimming and cycling at the Games.
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