Prince Harry

Week 205 (16 - 22 September)

For those unfamiliar with Latin terminology, the word Invicta means to be undefeated or unconquerable.

It has its origins in Roman times, an inspirational motto used for centuries before the Fall of the Western Roman Empire. The phrase is also strongly rooted in the history of Kent, the home of JTA, after the courage of people throughout the county is said to have forced William the Conqueror to re-consider his route to London in 1066.

Today, people in the sports world are likely to associate the phrase with the life-changing Invictus Games. The international multi-sport event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women was set up by Prince Harry in 2014, inspired by the Warrior Games, as a way to shine a light on the incredible service of modern day soldiers, who have demonstrated the same level of bravery as their 11th century counterparts in Kent. The now annual event is a way to celebrate their sacrifices, whilst also providing the exhilaration of an athletic challenge.

Prince Harry spent 10 years in the British army, including two tours of Afghanistan, making the cause incredibly personal. The 2017 edition of the Games, which will run from 23 - 30 September, is set to start in Toronto tomorrow, where 550 men and women from 17 nations will compete across 11 sporting events in the third instalment of the event.

Speaking ahead of the start of the Games tomorrow, Prince Harry this week said:

“What we have really understood from 2014 and 2016 is the effect these guys as ambassadors have on the general public. These guys are not going to suddenly be back to what they were. It gives them an opportunity to be together and use sport in an incredibly powerful way.”

Speaking more in-depth about the inspiration for the Games earlier this year, Prince Harry said:

“It was that flight home from Afghanistan that put me on the path to the Games… The sacrifices we ask our men and women to make came home so powerfully to me in those moments… Four years later, after another tour in Afghanistan, I began to look for ways in which to support the veterans who returned with injuries who in previous years simply would have been unsurvivable [sic].

“When I visited the Warrior Games in Colorado, I knew what to do. Sport would make the difference and help them fix their lives and reconnect with those around them. The spectacle of sport combined with recovery against the odds would inspire everyone who saw it.

“Sport has an unparalleled ability to bring people together. For those recovering from injury, it has the ability to refocus the mind, to bring a sense of purpose and boost self-confidence. The benefits which come from sport go beyond the individual, it positively impacts their family too.”

Reading some of stories of the participants in the upcoming Games is heartbreaking. However, hearing them talk about the impact that competing can have on their lives is an example of sport in its purest and most powerful form.

For using sport as a platform for ex-servicemen and women to draw inspiration and re-build their lives, Prince Harry deserves enormous credit. The Invictus Games heroes he has created are an inspiration to us all – the definition of what it means to be truly unconquerable. For that reason, Prince Harry is the JTA Communicator of the Week.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons