As I’ve stated previously, the Invictus Games aren’t just about those competing in the sporting events. They’re about the families, spectators, coaches, organizers, sponsors, and those behind the scenes too. Inspiration is everywhere at Invictus and not just on the field.
On Monday, while watching the mens’ Powerlifting finals, seven-year-old Rio Woolf was treated to a big surprise when Prince Harry visited for a chat and photo opportunity.
Rio was born with a rare bone deficiency in his lower right leg which forced him to have a through-knee amputation when he was just fourteen months old. This hasn’t affected him much since being introduced to Paralypic sports by his parents when he was just three years old. He’s been hooked since then, attending Paralympic events including both Invictus Games.
They’ve inspired him to get a blade of his own too and to get involved in Paralympic sport. At home, he plays for the London Titans, a wheelchair basketball team. He is most especially looking forward to the Wheelchair Basketball finals on Thursday.
Rio was given a week off from school to attend these Invictus games. When asked about his flight, he exaggerated that the “1,000 hours flight” was well worth it since he got to see Prince Harry again.
Rio and the Prince posed together in a two-arm flex after HRH spotted him after the Powerlifting ceremony; their visit drawing the attention of a large crowd at the HP Field House.
The young lad has also been inspired by more local heroes as well. He visited Winter, the real-life dolphin amputee that was the focus of the movie Dolphin Tale. The opening ceremony was very inspiring for him, his mother Juliette said because Morgan Freeman is the voice of Winter’s prosthetist.
Juliette said: “Being surrounded by so many people with a strong affinity for people like Rio is what makes this event so special for us.”