“Unconquerable” Athletes Crush Sports – Invictus Games Kick Off in Toronto

Gabrielle Klemt - 2B Geological
Posted on: September 24, 2017

On Saturday September 23rd, thousands of people descended on Toronto from across the Commonwealth to celebrate the first day of the Invictus Games and the Opening Ceremonies that night. Acts at the event included stars like Sarah McLachlan and Alessia Cara but some smaller acts as well. The Trenton Military Wives’ Choir, founded by Melanie Zukowski as a way to deal with feelings of loneliness when her husband was away on duty, performed in front of a massive audience.
The star-studded first night was attended by US First Lady Melania Trump, Governor General of Canada David Johnston, and comedian Mike Meyers. PM Justin Trudeau spoke to the athletes: “You’re not just here to inspire, you’re here to win”, although the athletes at the Games will be doing a lot of the former. The Games were founded in 2014 by Prince Harry after a trip to the Warrior Games in the USA in 2013. He saw the healing that was taking place in these injured and sick soldiers, not only physically but socially and psychologically as well, and determined to do something himself. As he put it at the Opening Ceremonies, “I knew it was my responsibility to use a great platform that I have to help the world understand and be inspired by the spirit of those who wear the uniform”.
The name “Invictus Games” comes from the poem Invictus by William Ernest Henley, with its message of an “unconquerable soul”. Prince Harry’s closing remarks after the first Invictus Games in 2014 reflect this idea of a soul that can’t be defeated: “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”.
The first day of the competition began with wheelchair tennis and athletic heats. Sunday saw the start of the track-and-field events at the York Lions Stadium which continued over Monday. Canadians have already begun distinguishing themselves, winning medals in shotput, IT5 400-metre, 200-metre, and IT5 100-metre. If you’re curious about any of the events taking place over the week, information can be found at www.invictusgames2017.com, along with the complete athletics schedule.
Prince Harry also attended the Duke of Edinburgh International Gold Award Ceremony at the Royal York Hotel on Sunday. Founded by his grandfather, Prince Phillip in 1963, the Award encourages young people to set their own challenges and goals, and become leaders in their communities.