Prince Harry, Patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, has announced that the second Invictus Games have been awarded to Orlando. The 2016 Games will take place from 8 – 12 May at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Making the announcement via video message, Prince Harry says that following the success of the inaugural Invictus Games in 2014 he always hoped that they would be just the beginning of the Invictus story.
Prince Harry said: “As I've continued to work with wounded servicemen and women, I regularly see the power of the soldiers' stories to inspire others. For every competitor last September, there are hundreds of others around the world who would benefit from having the same opportunity. I wanted other cities and countries to look at the competition - what it meant to those taking part and those who saw it - and take up the challenge for the next Invictus Games. I am absolutely delighted that the United States has taken up that challenge and will host the next Invictus Games in 2016. I have no doubt that the USA will set the bar even higher than London did and put on a great show.”
Following the success of the 2014 Invictus Games, the Invictus Games Foundation has been established to develop and pursue the event’s legacy. It manages the selection of the hosts for future games and oversees their delivery.
The Foundation set out desired requirements for future host cities to ensure the next Invictus Games meet stringent quality standards. This includes a mandatory minimum of 10 participating nations, 250 competitors and five sports; a strong families programme; appropriate venues and sport infrastructure; extensive broadcast and media coverage and access to the Games for spectators and media.
Since the end of the 2014 Games, The Invictus Games Foundation has received a number of bids from potential countries and cities wishing to host the Invictus Games over the coming years. The US bid for Orlando won the rights to the 2016 Games thanks to the city’s outstanding sporting facilities and great tourist infrastructure, which make it an ideal host city for both competitors and spectators.
Paul Wilson competed for the British Armed Forces Team at the 2014 Invictus Games in Archery. He suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a result of his tour in Afghanistan and has really struggled with flashbacks and nightmares.
Paul Wilson explains why it is so important to him that the Invictus Games legacy continues: “After very difficult times over the last few years, taking part in sport has been a massive help to me. It’s given me a sense of purpose, a structure to my life and something to focus on. Competing in the Invictus Games last year was a life-changing experience for me and inspired me in so many more ways than I could have imagined. I am so excited the Games are happening again and will inspire hundreds more men and women around the world on their journey to recovery.”
Research from Help for Heroes, who supported the Ministry of Defence in training and selecting the British Armed Forces team, has revealed that since the end of the Games they have seen a significant uptake in their sports recovery activities. There has been a 463% increase in sign-ups by veterans and serving personnel to Archery Talent ID Days, a 633% increase for Powerlifting and a 69% increase for swimming events.
U.S. Army Sergeant Ryan McIntosh, a winner of three medals in London in 2014 including one gold said: “The power of sports and competition has proven to me that I am still the same person I was before Injury. No matter what comes I will face that adversity and come out on top, Unconquered.”
Ken Fisher, President of the 2016 Invictus Games Organising Committee said: “Sport and exercise are important to the health and healing of our wounded warriors. We are honoured the Invictus Games is coming to the United States. The competitors, their families and caregivers are all inspirations and each of their stories is a testament to courage, love and perseverance.”