Prince Harry has announced that the second Invictus Games will take place in Orlando, Florida in 2016. The news came in a video recorded last month by Harry and published today on the Kensington Palace Twitter account.
The games will take place from May 8th to Mary 12th 2016 at the ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex. Prince Harry said in his video message ”I’d always hoped that last year’s games would be more than a one off. For me, the 2014 Games were just the beginning of the Invictus story. I wanted other cities and countries to look at the competition and see what it meant to those taking part and those who saw it.’
And it is Florida which has taken up the challenge of a new games. ‘I have no doubt that Ken Fisher and his team will set the bar even higher than London did and that the USA will put on a great show,’ said Harry as he made the announcement before setting a mini royal challenge with the words ‘no pressure!’.
The Invictus Games were the brainchild of Prince Harry and took place in September 2014 with four hundred competitors from thirteen nations taking part. All the competitors at Invictus were service men and women who had suffered injuries or illness and when he announced the inaugural games Harry said “I have witnessed first hand how the power of sport can positively impact the lives of wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women in their journey of recovery.’’
Those thoughts were echoed in his words at the opening ceremony of the competition – attended by senior royals including his father, The Prince of Wales, and his brother, The Duke of Cambridge. They heard Harry say ‘For some of those taking part, this will be a stepping stone to elite sport but for others it will mark the end of a chapter in their recovery, and the beginning of a new one. Either way, you can be sure that, everyone who takes to the track, pool or field of play will be giving it their all.’
Following the success of the 2014 Games, Prince Harry said he was looking forward to putting on a similar event in the future. ‘For every competitor at the first Invictus Games there are 10 others who would benefit from having the same opportunity,’ the prince said. ‘I am delighted that there is an appetite to build on the success of 2014 and broaden the concept in the future.’
Now, with the announcement that the Games will travel to Orlando in 2016, that work to build on past successes has really begun in earnest and Prince Harry will be at the very heart of it again.
Photo credit: UK Ministry of Defence via Flickr