More than 600 wounded warriors from 16 nations to compete in Toronto, Canada in September 2017
TORONTO, March 16, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, Prince Harry announced that the 2017 Invictus Games have been awarded to Toronto, Canada. The third Invictus Games, to be held in September 2017, will be the largest Games yet, with more than 600 military competitors from 16 nations competing in 12 sports. The Invictus Games are the only international adaptive sporting event for wounded, injured and ill active duty and veteran service members.
Prince Harry made the announcement via video with just over 50 days to go until the 2016 Invictus Games, which will be held in Orlando, Florida, from May 8 to 12. His complete video message can be viewed at invictusgames2017.com.
"I always hoped the Invictus story would continue after the London Games," said Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games in 2014. "And having seen so many new people benefit from their journey to Orlando this year, I definitely did not want it to end here. So today, I am absolutely delighted to announce that the Invictus legacy will continue when Toronto hosts the third Invictus Games."
Prince Harry also announced that he will visit Toronto in May 2016 to officially launch the 2017 Invictus Games.
The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate broader awareness of the physical and psychological injuries sustained by our ill and injured service members and veterans.
"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."
Hosting the Games in Canada in 2017, the year the country celebrates the 150th anniversary of its Confederation, will provide a unique opportunity for Canadians to commemorate and honour its ill and injured soldiers, and their families.
"Canadians actively look for ways to express their gratitude to our military. The Invictus Games will provide an ideal forum for what we know will be an unprecedented outpouring of support and appreciation," said Michael Burns, chief executive officer, Invictus Games Toronto 2017.
The year is also one steeped in rich Canadian military history; 2017 will mark the anniversaries of historic military battles that shaped and defined the nation, including the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Dieppe.
"It is a great honour for Canada to be chosen to host the 2017 Invictus Games and I look forward to seeing our veterans and Armed Forces members represent our country once again," said the Hon. Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs.
Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne also expressed her support: "The Invictus Games will build on the success [of the TORONTO 2015 Games], with remarkable service men and women and veterans from allied nations competing in these exciting and uplifting Games."
Having recently hosted thousands of visitors during the TORONTO 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games, the Invictus Games will present another opportunity for Toronto to showcase its status as a world-class tourism destination.
"The City of Toronto is looking forward to welcoming the Invictus Games in 2017. Sport has the unique power to change lives. The service men and women who participate in these Games deserve to be honoured and Toronto is proud to be the stage on which they will stand as they step into the world spotlight," said Mayor of Toronto John Tory.
Prince Harry's video announcement will be played this evening during a reception celebrating 50 days to go until the 2016 Invictus Games, to be hosted at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. The 2016 Invictus Games will be held from May 8 to 12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Prince Harry's video message can be downloaded in two versions, one with background music and one as an edited clip:
1. Version with background music: http://we.tl/lzXipLC8sN
2. Shorter, edited clip: http://we.tl/lzXipLC8sN
A full transcript of Prince Harry's video message can be downloaded here: http://we.tl/aF8IG9pIUH
About the Invictus Games
"Invictus" is Latin for unconquered, and it embodies the fighting spirit of the service personnel. Prince Harry founded the Invictus Games following a visit in 2013 to the US-based Warrior Games, a sporting competition for ill and injured American service members and veterans. He was inspired to create an expanded version of the Games that would invite all soldiers and veterans from allied nations to compete.
The inaugural Invictus Games took place in London in September 2014 and attracted more than 450 competitors from 13 nations. The 2016 Invictus Games in Orlando will build on the excitement of the London Games, featuring more than 500 competitors from 15 nations.
Invictus Games Toronto 2017 (IG2017) is the Organizing Committee tasked with bringing the Invictus Games to Toronto, Canada in 2017. Founded in August 2015, IG2017 will work to build on the success of the London 2014 and the Orlando 2016 Invictus Games to put on an event that will capture the imaginations of the Canadian public, corporations and governments, as well as soldiers, veterans and their families.
Follow the IG2017 journey:
YouTube: 'Invictus Toronto'
"The sacrifices of the women and men who serve in the military are great, and it is a privilege for Canada to host Invictus Games participants as they remind the world that sickness doesn't equal weakness."
-- The Honourable Harjit Singh Sajjan, Minister of National Defence of Canada
"The 2017 Invictus Games will provide a distinguished venue for our brave brothers and sisters in arms to compete on an international level in front of their hometown fans. The Games will provide Canadians with an opportunity to support these amazing competitors and acknowledge their great sacrifices and admirable service."
-- General Jonathan Vance, the Canadian Armed Forces' Chief of the Defence Staff
"The Invictus Games are a testament to the courage and perseverance demonstrated every day by injured Armed Forces members and veterans on their road to recovery and rehabilitation. It is a great honour for Canada to be chosen to host the 2017 Invictus Games and I look forward to seeing our veterans and Armed Forces members represent our country once again."
-- The Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
"On behalf of the Government of Ontario, I am delighted that Toronto will host the 2017 Invictus Games. During the successful 2015 Pan Am and Parapan Am Games, our province welcomed world-class athletes from across the Americas and Caribbean to the largest multi-sport event ever to take place on Canadian soil. The Invictus Games will build on this success, with remarkable service men and women and veterans from allied nations competing in these exciting and uplifting Games. The event will pay tribute to the immense sacrifices made by servicemen and women around the world, and will inspire all Canadians as they cheer on these brave athletes."
-- The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
"All members of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation are pleased to welcome the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, including the competitors, dignitaries and other international Games guests, to our traditional territory. The Invictus Games shine a light on the dedication of the men and women who serve their country, and commemorate the contribution of First Nations people to the Canadian military heritage."
— Chief R. Stacey LaForme, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation
"True Patriot Love is thrilled that the Invictus Games will be coming to Canada in 2017. This is an exciting time for all those involved with the Games, in particular the exceptional group of servicemen, women and veterans who will have the opportunity to represent Canada on home soil. The 2017 Games will enable all Canadians to honour the men and women who have come face-to-face with the reality of sacrificing for their country, and will allow us to continue to shine a light on the unique challenges of living a military lifestyle."
— Bronwen Evans, chief executive officer, True Patriot Love Foundation
"We are proud to endorse the 2017 Invictus Games. These Games will not only benefit those who are competing, but it will also send a powerful message to those across the country who are struggling with severe physical challenges and mental health issues because of service, that they can overcome whatever obstacles are before them."
— Tom Eagles, President, Canadian Legion
SOURCE Invictus Games Toronto 2017
Image with caption: "Invictus Games Toronto 2017 (CNW Group/Invictus Games Toronto 2017)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20160316_C1209_PHOTO_EN_644090.jpg
For further information: Jill MacCannell, Media Relations Coordinator, Invictus Games Toronto 2017, [email protected], 647-961-0990