Invictus means “unconquerable” or “undefeated” in Latin and is also a poem by William Ernest Henley. The poem was written while Henley was in the hospital being treated for tuberculosis of the bone, also known as Pott’s disease. Henley was himself an amputee and the poem reflects his long battle with illness.
Generations have drawn on the words of William Ernest Henley’s poem for strength during times of adversity.
~by William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be.
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance.
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears,
looms but the Horror of the shade,
and yet the menace of the years,
finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
how charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.
We are the master of our fate and we are the captain of our souls.
We all need to remember that and never forget it.
We must all remember that we are all…
and we will remain undefeated.
This is the logo for the Invictus Games.
The Invictus Games is an international Paralympic-style multi-sport event, created by Prince Harry of the Commonwealth Realms, in which wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel and their associated veterans take part in sports including wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, and indoor rowing.
The word ‘Invictus’ is Latin for ‘unconquered’ and embodies the fighting spirit of our wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. They have been tested and challenged, but they have not been overcome. They have proven that by embracing each other and the support of family and friends, they can reclaim their future. They are Invictus.
The Invictus Games is about much more than just sport – it captures hearts, challenges minds and changes lives.
Most of us will never know the horrors of combat. Horrors so great that many servicemen and women suffer life-changing injuries, both visible and invisible, while serving their countries, while serving us. How do these men and women find the motivation to move on and not be defined by their injuries? How can we challenge perceptions and send a positive message about life beyond disability to an international audience? Prince Harry not only asked but answered these questions.
On a trip to the Warrior Games in the United States in 2013, Prince Harry saw the positive impact sport could have on the recovery and rehabilitation of wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women. He vowed to take the idea and launch a similar event in the UK. The Invictus Games Foundation was established and in 2014 London hosted the inaugural Invictus Games, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, with more than 400 competitors from 13 nations.
Led by an experienced and deeply passionate board of trustees, the Foundation supports the delivery of future Invictus Games, manages the process of selecting future Games hosts and promotes the importance of sport and physical activity in the rehabilitation journey of wounded, injured and ill service members and veterans.
The second Invictus Games took place in May 2016 in Orlando, Florida, and built on the excitement of the London Games with more than 500 competitors from 15 nations. The Invictus Games will continue in 2017 in Toronto from 23 to 30 September before heading ‘down under’ to Australia.
The Sydney Games will attract more than 500 competitors from 18 nations to compete in 11 adaptive sports and will recognise and thank families and friends for their role and the challenges they share in supporting our wounded warriors. Sydney will host around 1000 family and friends who’ll be in the stands cheering.
These Games have shone a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of service men and women and their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit. These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning round to clap the last man in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together, not wanting to come second, but not wanting the other guys to either. These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit.
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