News, Sports

Wounded Warriors Compete In Invictus Games in Toronto

Team Canada enters the arena at the opening ceremony for the 2017 Invictus Games. The photo, which was shot from the stands above, shows a huge crowd of competitors on the lower floor level of the Air Canada Centre. Above them is jumbotron that says CANADA and shows some individual Canadian competitors. Photo: Joyce Grant, TKN
Team Canada enters the arena at the opening ceremony for the 2017 Invictus Games. Photo: Joyce Grant, TKN

More than 550 “wounded warriors” are gathered in Toronto, Ontario this week, to compete in the Invictus Games.

The competitors are soldiers who became injured during their military service. Many of them are missing a limb (arm or leg), for instance, and many others have PTSI (post traumatic stress injury) which is a mental health condition caused by trauma.

The servicemen and servicewomen are from 17 nations including Canada the US, the UK, Afghanistan and Australia. There are 12 sports in the Games, some of them adapted to enable people with injuries to be able to play the sport at a competitive level. For instance, wheelchair tennis, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

The Games kicked off last Saturday with a star-studded opening ceremony, with performances by musicians Alessia Cara, Sarah McLachlan and The Tenors.

“Invictus is about the dedication of the men and women who served their countries, confronted hardship and refused to be defined by their injuries,” said Britain’s Prince Harry at the opening ceremony, held at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Prince Harry began the Invictus Games in 2014, after he flew with some injured British soldiers and wondered if there was something he could do to help them and others like them.

The Invictus Games are more than a sporting competition. They are a form of “rehabilitative therapy,” which means that they can help people recover from their injuries. For instance, many soldiers who are seriously injured may worry that they can’t meaningfully contribute to society. Participating in high-level sports competition can help their physical and mental strength.

A tennis player in a red shirt and in a wheelchair is playing tennis on a blue tennis court. His right arm and racquet are outstretched and the ball is just about to hit his racquet.
A wheelchair tennis player in preliminary competition at Nathan Phillips Square on Sept. 23. Photo: IG2017.

The competitions are being held in locations across Toronto including Nathan Phillips Square, the Ryerson University’s Mattamy Athletic Centre and the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre. Some of the events, including wheelchair tennis, are free to the public.

“Invictus” is Latin for “unconquered.” It comes from a poem by William Ernest Henley. The Invictus Games are on now until Sept. 30.

More information:
The official website of the 2017 Invictus Games.

More information about all of the Invictus sports (and their adapted rules): archery, athletics, cycling, golf, indoor rowing, Jagual Land Rover Driving Challenge, powerlifting, sitting volleyball, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair tennis.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
The article explains that the athletes competing in the Invictus Games, need to prepare physically and mentally. It states, “Participating in high-level sports competition can help their physical and mental strength.”

We often think of athletes training their muscles and body, but we rarely think of them training their brains. Why do you think professional sport competitions, such as the Invictus Games, require athletes have both strong bodies and minds?

Reading Prompt:
The poem, Invictus, includes the lines “I am master of my fate / I am the captain of my soul.” What do you think those lines mean? Why do you think the poem is fitting for the Invictus Games?

Invictus, by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
      Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
      For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
      I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
      My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
      Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
      Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
      How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

Language Feature: Latin
The word, “Invictus” is Latin for “unconquered.” Latin is the ancient language of Rome and its empire. Many of our English words come from Latin. For example, the English word “school” comes from the Latin word, “schola.”

Do you know what the following Latin words are in English?
1. pictura
2. nova
3. bona
4. terra
5. longa