The Invictus Games, coming to Canada in 2017
Iam the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” Truer words were never spoken when talking about the sacrifice and rehabilitation of servicemen and women both serving and veterans having endured both visible and invisible injuries, while serving their countries.
On Sept. 2 4–30, 2017, Toronto will host more than 550 competitors from 17 allied nations competing in 12 adaptive sports at the third Invictus Games, established in 2014 by Prince Harry, a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, completing two tours. These Games will see a first in any sporting competition: both able-bodied and disabled athletes competing side-by-side.
The Invictus Games represents more than just a field of competition. It will be a display of hundreds of untold stories of struggle, therapy, camaraderie and journeys to recovery through sport.
Take Team Canada’s co-captain, Capt. Simon Mailloux, an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces’ Royal 22nd Regiment, also known as the Van Doos.
After losing his lower leg i n an ied attack during Operation Athena in 2007 in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Mailloux’s goal was always to return and continue his mission. Recovery was not going to be easy – but with family support and true-grit determination, Mailloux’s involvement in adaptive sport changed his outlook on his injuries and abilities. Not only did he return to Afghanistan, but now he will be joining other servicemen and women competing at the 2017 Invictus Games. Mailloux will be competing in deck hockey and all track distances.
“These Games are different because it keeps the voices of our sacrifice alive,” says Mailloux. “We train, compete and try to win, but in the end, sharing our stories, healing and shaking hands with Canadians is what it’s all about. Spectators may end up cheering more for the last person to finish a race rather than being first. They’ve already won by showing up on that start line, in spite of mental or physical injury. For some, that journey starts right now to be ready for September 2017.”— Marylene Vestergom