The 2016 Orlando Invictus Games have closed after another incredible week of sport played out by injured and ill veterans.
The Invictus Games has closed with a moving closing ceremony after 485 athletes from 14 nations competed in 10 sports over a seven day tournament in front of approximately 56,000 spectators.
Chairman of the Invictus Games Foundation Sir Keith Mills, said: “Orlando – you are amazing – what a fantastic Invictus Games it has been. We have been inspired and moved by our wounded injured and sick Servicemen and women and we have seen extraordinary sport in these amazing venues. It has been a truly magical Games. I am thrilled that the Invictus Games legacy will continue in 2017 with the Invictus Games in Toronto.”
The 2016 Games featured a host of firsts including a new sport, wheelchair tennis; a new participating country, Jordan; more competitors, as well as a committed focus and dialogue on helping wounded warriors to rehabilitate. Chairman of the 2016 Invictus Games Organising Committee, Ken Fisher, paid tribute to all involved, saying: “I would like to thank all the competitors, their friends and families, the spectators, the volunteers and all the hard working members of our organising team who helped shine a light on the sacrifices of those who defend our freedoms.”
Elsewhere, the Invictus Games Symposium on Invisible Wounds was hosted by President George W. Bush. The Invictus Games Symposium brought together warriors, experts and community partners to address the scale and scope of invisible wounds (post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries) facing veterans. With representatives from all 14 nations participating, discussion included barriers to care, including both stigmas and stereotypes associated with these injuries.
Prince Harry commented that the Games were more than about winning medals, and more about sharing experiences and “literally watching lives change here and outside in the pool …We’ve witnessed it.”
Looking ahead to the 2017 tournament, CEO of Invictus Games Toronto 2017, Michael Burns, said: “Congratulations to the organising committee for the Invictus Games Orlando 2016. These Games succeeded in showcasing the power of adaptive sport in the healing and recovery of our wounded warriors and their families. We look forward to building on their legacy when Toronto hosts the third Invictus Games in 2017.”