The first ever Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover, will be brought to a breath-taking finale this evening by the Foo Fighters in one last spectacular performance at an event that has seen an international audience captivated by the 413 ‘wounded warriors’ at its heart and thirsty for more.
The star-studded Jaguar Land Rover Invictus Games Closing Concert on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park is a fitting climax to an event that since Wednesday’s military-themed curtain-raiser has seen crowds of 65,000 pack venues made famous by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Millions more tuned-in to BBC to be gripped by the achievements of wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women from 13 nations.
The 400+ medals awarded across nine adaptive sports are just half the story as the sporting action of the past few days has been as inspiring as the stories of those taking part. The watching world has responded by showing their support – in venues, through Twitter and Facebook, and on the streets of London – backing the competitors and a concept brought to the UK Capital by Prince Harry. For competitors and their 1,200 travelling friends and family it has made for an incredible experience.
Launched by Prince Harry just six months back, the Invictus Games set out to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country. The Army Captain has spoken passionately about how this has been about more than four days of incredible sport. The legacy of the Games is now in discussion.
Sir Keith Mills, Chairman of the Invictus Games, says: “The Invictus Games has been a fantastic success thanks to the teams and the British public. We have always wanted these Games to be more than just a one off event and have had some approaches from a number of nations interested in talking to us about hosting in the future. We will continue these discussions and have others over the next few months to agree how the Games can be taken forward. None of this would be possible without the competitors and their outstanding performances, the British public and their passionate support and our sponsors and partners who came on the inaugural journey with us.”
I can’t sum it up in words. We’ve been humbled by the support everyone has given us. We just want to say thank you to everyone who has travelled from all over the world to be here in London, to get behind all the competitors and show their support. This has meant so much.
Dave Henson, Captain of the British Armed Forces team
American army veteran Michael Kacer says: “I’m loving it here. I thought the Colorado Warrior Games [the American version of the Invictus Games] was top notch and couldn’t be beaten, but the welcome we got here was amazing. Seeing all of the countries come together and compete against each other, but also with each other is great. It’s mind blowing and truly amazing.”
Italy’s Corporal Di Loreto adds: “The whole atmosphere at these Games has been really amazing. It is very exciting how much attention the British public have given this event and it is fantastic to see the support we are all getting – it has been very humbling. It is a big showcase that will help people understand and be closer to us. The Games have been incredible and I hope they can continue.”
Australia’s Matthew Taxis says: “It’s been awesome, the best thing I have done in a long time. Hopefully they do this every year and hopefully I can come back again.”
France’s Cecile Trompette adds: “I would be the first one to come back. I have loved these Games.”
Sir Keith Mills thanked partners and sponsors, including presenting partner Jaguar Land Rover, for their support in delivering the Invictus Games on budget and on time. They were organised with the support and backing of The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry and the Ministry of Defence. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Lee Valley Athletics Centre hosted the events thanks to the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, the London Legacy Development Corporation, the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority, DCMS and Sport England.
Mark Cameron, Global Brand Experience Director at Jaguar Land Rover says: “Jaguar Land Rover has been immensely proud to support the Invictus Games, and the concert is a spectacular conclusion to an exciting and inspiring week. The atmosphere and sporting achievements have been electrifying and we’d like to thank the competitors, their family and friends, and of course the public for their participation. We’re confident that the Invictus Games will leave a lasting legacy of opportunity for ex-Service personnel.”
‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’, a word that embodies the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women and what they can achieve, post-injury. William Ernest Henley’s famous 1875 poem of the same title proclaims strength in the face of adversity and ends with the poignant lines: “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
“I knew it’d be special but this has been something else. I can’t sum it up in words. We’ve been humbled by the support everyone has given us. We just want to say thank you to everyone who has travelled from all over the world to be here in London, to get behind all the competitors and show their support. This has meant so much.”
Dave Henson Captain of the British Armed Forces Team