Invictus Toronto 2017: Closing the Games with a Bang
A star-studded lineup was on hand at the Air Canada Centre to pay tribute to wounded service members and veterans who participated in the third annual Invictus Games this week in Toronto.
On stage for Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Closing Ceremony were no less than legendary rock legends Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams. Bachman & Turner, Kelly Clarkson and French-Canadian singer-songwriter Coeur de pirate also joined in the celebration with show-stopping performances.
Prior to the ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, handed out participation medals to competitors.
TORONTO, ON – SEPTEMBER 30: Competitors speak with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau onstage during the closing ceremony of the Invictus Games 2017 at Air Canada Centre on September 30, 2017 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation )
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Gregoire Trudeau said, taking the stage. “As a mother, I can barely begin to understand how you managed to overcome what you have seen or experienced but when we come together as human beings, our resilience can make everything possible.”
She added, “These are the first steps toward healing and recovery.”
“You have done it,” Prince Harry said, in a moving tribute to the athletes. “This is the moment. Right here, right now, shoulder to shoulder, you are Invictus.” The Latin word for the name of the games he founded means unconquered.
“Let’s create a ripple effect of the Invictus spirit across our nations that will be the real legacy of this extraordinary week,” he said. “Let me issue you a challenge. Don’t just move on from these games with happy memories. Instead, make an Invictus goal for yourselves.”
“It makes no difference how small your step is, just take it.”
“At the Invictus Games, it’s not just about the hurdles that competitors experienced during competition, but about overcoming the obstacles that life has presented them,” Springsteen said, prior to the ceremony. “The Games are a remarkable opportunity for brothers and sisters in arms to join forces and demonstrate the true strength of their spirit. It is an absolute honour and privilege to perform for them at the Closing Ceremony as a send-off to a week of competition in Toronto.”
This year, Canada’s team boasted 90 members, its largest yet. The Invictus Games, founded by Prince Harry as a means to inspire wounded soldiers during their often challenging paths to recovery, took place in venues across Toronto from September 23 to 30, 2017, featuring adaptive sports including archery, wheelchair basketball and golf. More than 550 competitors from 17 nations participated in the event.
On September 23, Canadian sensations Alessia Cara, Sarah McLachlan, La Bottine Souriante and The Tenors performed at the Opening Ceremony. Mike Myers, the 54-year-old actor-author-director, was the Official Ambassador to this year’s Invictus Games and delivered a stirring tribute to Canada.
Prince Harry launched the inaugural Invictus Games in London in 2014, followed by the Orlando games in May 2016. The prince, inspired by the U.S.-based Warrior Games, drew from his personal experience as a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan in the British forces where his duty included airlifting injured soldiers to hospital.
“I convinced myself for 10 years that, while I was there, I was one of the lads,” he told the British press. “I was doing a job and I had a role. How, I thought, do you ease their [the soldiers’] trauma and give new meaning to their shattered lives? Then it hit me—sport.”
The 2018 Games will be held in Sydney, Australia.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) October 1, 2017
— HELLO! Canada (@HelloCanada) October 1, 2017