THE INVICTUS GAMES

TORONTO
2017

Spirit Flame visits Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre following lighting ceremony in Kabul
16/08/2017
The Spirit Flame landed in Germany today and travelled to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre, a key surgical treatment centre for wounded soldiers, including Canadians who were injured in Afghanistan. The flame was originally lit during a moving ceremony at the Afghanistan Presidential Palace in Kabul on August 9, 2017 and represents the wounded warriors' spirit that, despite injury or illness, still burns bright.

This was the second stop in a sequence of events retracing the journey home that many Invictus Games competitors have endured – from injury, to treatment, to the return home and their ensuing road to recovery. The flame's journey will culminate at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in Toronto on September 23, where it will be carried onto the stage by a Canadian competitor accompanied by family.

"As preparations for the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 reach their final phase, it is important to take a moment to remember why we are doing this. The brave men and women who arrived here were, for perhaps the first time in their lives, badly in need of someone else's help. And they received it, here in Germany at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center with the help of the outstanding medical staff and the support for the families from Fisher House, they were able to begin to rebuild their lives. Without the care that they received here, many would not have made the journey to Invictus Games competitor and to be on their way to Toronto in September," said Michael Burns, CEO, Invictus Games Toronto 2017.

Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Team Canada members Cpl. (retired) Chris Klodt, and co-captain Maj. Simon Mailloux were in Germany to receive the flame and to thank the medical staff there for saving their lives and returning them home to their families.

"A return to LRMC for me is quite an emotional time. This is where 10 years ago I was struggling for my life and I lost my leg. This is where doctors and nurses kept me alive. It will be a privilege to visit these people and to receive the Spirit Flame in transit from Kabul towards Toronto," said Major Mailloux. "The Spirit flame, to me, is representing the ideals held by the soldiers who we lost over there. Personally, I will think of the soldiers fallen under my command and the Afghans and allies who suffered in combat with us. Holding it will be a duty and an honor."

"For me the return to Landstuhl is an opportunity to express my gratitude to the people who made it possible for me to make the flight home. Not only were they good to me but I am forever grateful for the way they cared for my family during such a horrific time." commented Cpl. (retired) Klodt.

Also in attendance was the Honourable Kent Hehr, Minister of Veteran Affairs Canada who acknowledged the importance of remembering this part of a soldier's journey: "It is an honour to be able to participate in the ceremonies here at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to pay tribute to the indomitable spirit of Invictus Games competitors and to recognize the incredible, lifesaving work undertaken by its medical personnel on those Canadian forces injured in Afghanistan and other overseas operations. Our government is very excited to support this year's Invictus Games in Toronto, as well as the many lead-up events occurring across our great nation which acknowledge and celebrate the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, our Veterans and their families."


Simon Mailloux, a major with Canadian Forces, pushes Chris Klodt, a former Canadian Forces soldier on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Klodt carried the Spirit Flame, a symbol of the unconquerable spirit of the Invictus Games wounded warriors. Mailloux and Klodt were injured in Afghanistan. (Photo Credit: JENNIFER SVAN/STARS AND STRIPES) (CNW Group/Invictus Games Toronto 2017)
"Having the Spirit Flame follow the path wounded soldiers take to get home, honours their courage and dedication," said the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. "It also marks the final countdown for the 2017 Invictus Games and reminds us of the unique opportunity the Games present for service members to build camaraderie and rediscover a sense of belonging. I look forward to welcoming the competitors to Ontario in September and being inspired by the dedication of these wounded warriors to compete and push themselves to their limit."

As Mayor of the host city, Toronto, John Tory said: "There are less than two months to go until the Invictus Games and Toronto is ready to receive the Spirit Flame, cheer on the competitors and warmly welcome their friends, family and fans. We look forward to demonstrating why we are the greatest city in the world".
Invictus Spirit Flame lit in Afghanistan retraces journey taken by Canada’s wounded warriors

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN – The Invictus Spirit Flame was lit today during a moving ceremony at the Afghanistan Presidential Palace in Kabul. The flame will travel to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany later this month before returning to Canada to light the cauldron at the Opening Ceremony, symbolizing the journey of many service members from the battlefield to the Invictus Games – and from injury to recovery. 

“Many Invictus Games competitors served and became ill or injured in Afghanistan,” said Michael Burns, CEO, Invictus Games Toronto 2017. “In fact, 14 of the 17 nations participating in the 2017 Invictus Games had service personnel killed or injured there. Afghanistan is now also indelibly woven into the national fabric of Canadian military history. It is fitting that the Invictus Spirit Flame be lit in Kabul.”
 
Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan and Gen. John Nicholson, commander of the NATO-led Resolute Support Mission, led remarks at the ceremony attended by the Afghan team for the Invictus Games and their families, as well as dozens of Afghan officials and representatives of the Kabul-based diplomatic communities with Games participants. Kenneth Neufeld, Canadian Ambassador to Afghanistan, and Burns also spoke.  
“In order to stand here in freedom, thousands have lost their lives. Freedom is a product of this collective sacrifice.” said President Ghani. “There is a bond of blood between our soldiers and our peoples, in a cause they have considered to be greater than themselves: it is for the safety of generations to come, and of the world.  Invictus represents the triumph of will over adversity”.

"Invictus is the Latin word for 'unconquered.'  I cannot think of a better way to describe the brave Afghans who continue to fight for their country," said Gen. Nicholson.


The flame represents the wounded warriors’ spirit that despite injury or illness still burns bright, visible in their journey to and participation in the highly competitive Invictus Games. The flame was passed from Afghan veteran Maj. Ahmad Shah to retired MCpl. Jody Mitic, 20-year Canadian veteran and official ambassador of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017. Mitic was on his third tour overseas, this time in Afghanistan, when he lost both his feet after stepping on a landmine.  

“It makes sense that the Invictus Spirit Flame would be lit in Kabul.  After all, this is where the lives of so many Canadian soldiers changed dramatically,” said Jody Mitic. “To be a part of an initiative that would provide such vivid context to the realities of service and sacrifice endured by our servicemen and women was an opportunity I could not refuse."
 
The Invictus Spirit Flame lighting ceremony is the first in a sequence of events retracing the journey home that many Invictus Games competitors have endured – from injury, to treatment, to the return home and their ensuing road to recovery.  

Following Kabul, the flame will travel to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre in Germany, a key surgical treatment centre for wounded soldiers, including Canadians who were injured in Afghanistan. There, Team Canada competitor retired Cpl. Chris Klodt and Team Canada co-captain Maj. Simon Mailloux will be on hand to receive the flame. Team Canada members will have the opportunity to thank the medical staff there for saving their lives and returning them home to their families. 


Retired MCpl. Jody Mitic, 20-year Canadian veteran and official ambassador of the Invictus Games Toronto 2017, lifts Invictus Spirit Flame in lighting ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The flame’s journey will culminate at the Invictus Games Opening Ceremony in Toronto on September 23, where it will be carried onto the stage by a Canadian competitor accompanied by family. They will then light the 'I AM' cauldron, marking the start of the 2017 Invictus Games.

“As a former Chief of Defense Staff, I can’t think of a better way to honour the service and sacrifice made by our soldiers, sailors, airmen, air women, special forces troopers and their families,” said retired Gen. Rick Hillier. “This journey will bring great attention and focus on the issues facing our military, veterans and their families and why the Invictus Games are an important part of their healing and recovery."
Bryan Adams, Kelly Clarkson, Bachman & Turner, Coeur de pirate to close Invictus Games Toronto 2017 
The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Organizing Committee unveiled today its lineup for the Closing Ceremony, with performances by Canadian legend Bryan Adams, American singer-songwriter Kelly Clarkson, iconic rock band Bachman & Turner and Quebecoise singer-songwriter Coeur de pirate. Held at the Air Canada Centre on September 30, 2017, tickets start at only $60 and can be purchased online at  invictusgames2017.com/tickets.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have secured some truly outstanding, internationally renowned talent for the Closing Ceremony of the Games,” said Michael Burns, CEO, Invictus Games Toronto 2017. “It was important to us to offer a week filled with memorable experiences on and off the field of play, for the competitors, their friends and family members and the spectators across Canada and around the world, and this will mean closing out the week in spectacular fashion.”

Presented by Jaguar Land Rover and the Government of Canada, and produced by Patrick Roberge Productions (PRP), the Closing Ceremony will bring together competitors, family members and supporters in a spectacular send-off to a fierce week of competition. Through vivid storytelling and appearances by world dignitaries and internationally-renowned talent, the Ceremony will be an unforgettable experience celebrating competitors’ incredible performances, triumphs and displays of perseverance during the Games. The Closing Ceremony will also mark the official handover to Sydney, Australia — host city of the 2018 Invictus Games.
“I encourage everyone to attend the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Toronto 2017 Invictus Games, which put Canadian artists centre stage and celebrate our diversity,” said The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. “Let’s take this opportunity to honour the brave men and women who uphold and defend our values, including those of liberty, equality, respect and compassion. Together, let’s support these amazing athletes and their families!”

Tickets for the Opening Ceremony on September 23 are still available. The ceremony includes equally exceptional talent, with international stars Sarah McLachlan, Alessia Cara, the Tenors, Laura Wright and La Bottine Souriante. Competitors from the 17 participating nations will also join in the ceremony for the Parade of Nations and the raising of the Official Invictus Games Flag.

“Jaguar Land Rover Canada is immensely proud of our partnership with this year’s Games. We are even more proud of our multi-year role as Presenting Partner for the Invictus Games globally,” said Wolfgang Hoffmann, President of Jaguar Land Rover Canada. “Our company’s values match the passionate, unstoppable, determination of veterans. Our goal, in partnership with Invictus, is to continue inspiring and encouraging injured and wounded military personnel.”

“The excitement is building for the Invictus Games as locals and visitors from around the world are getting prepared to be inspired by incredible feats of strength, courage and bravery on the field of play, and a spectacular line-up of talent at the opening and closing ceremonies,” said Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “What a great way to end an impressive summer of sport in Ontario, which included the North American Indigenous Games, in this milestone 150th anniversary year.”

Taking place from September 23 to 30, 2017, in state-of-the-art venues across Toronto, the 2017 Invictus Games will feature adaptive sports such as wheelchair basketball, archery, swimming, athletics and, new to these Games, golf. Sports tickets are just $25 and can be purchased online at invictusgames2017.com.
Once-in-a-lifetime concert coming to Toronto’s Air Canada Centre to celebrate the conclusion of seven days of remarkable competition
About the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 

The Invictus Games use the power of adaptive sport to help wounded warriors on their journey to recovery. Established by Prince Harry, the inaugural Invictus Games took place in London in September 2014; the second, and equally successful, Games took place in Orlando in May 2016. The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Organizing Committee is tasked with planning and executing a Games that will feature more than 550 competitors from 17 nations participating in 12 adaptive sports, including, for the first time, golf. The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 presented by Jaguar Land Rover, will capture the imaginations of the Canadian public, corporations and governments, as well as soldiers, veterans and their families. The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 are funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto as well as Presenting Partner Jaguar Land Rover and other partners and sponsors.

These Games shine a spotlight on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women and their families. They highlight the competitors’ “INVICTUS GAMES spirit.” These Games have been about seeing competitors sprinting for the finish line with everything they have and then turning around to clap the last person in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together. These Games have been a display of the very best of the human spirit.
– Prince Harry, established the Invictus Games Foundation

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The Invictus Games: Changing Lives With Sport
KJ Mullins
At the end of September military athletes from 17 nations will be in Toronto to take part in the third Invictus Games. The brain child of Prince Harry, the Invictus Games feature athletes in 12 adaptive sports using the power of sport to help wounded warriors on their journey to recovery.
On Wednesday July 26 Michael Burns, CEO of Invictus Games Toronto 2017, Martin Nel, Head of Personal and Small Business Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal and Bruce Matthews, Competitor, Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Team Canada joined together to announce a public call to action. The Invictus Games are searching for 150 flagbearers to carry Invictus Games flag across Canada. Starting in Victoria on August 16 the Invictus Games National Flag Tour will finish in Toronto the day before the Games begin. The 37-day cross-Canada journey will visit 22 military bases, 15 legions and over 50 communities who have been a part of Canada’s rich 150-year history.

Are you looking for a unique way to demonstrate your gratitude for those who serve or have served our country? Would you like the honour of carrying the Official Invictus Games Flag? Then we need your help! Apply for your chance to be an Invictus Games Flagbearer in your community or a community near you.


To apply: https://invictusflagtour2017.wufoo.eu/forms/sqrbnv71dr3r61/

For Matthews the games have given purpose back to his day. A Van Doos, Matthews looks the picture of health but he's one of the many who live with invisible health issues. Serving Canada came with a price. He has faced 13 major surgeries in the last 12 years and deals with PTSD after serving in Croatia in 1995. "My daily routine now encompasses more training, healthier eating and a more focused and positive mindset. I have already connected with many peers who I can relate to and who can understand my daily struggles.” Matthews is excited for the Games to start.

The Invictus Games use the power of adaptive sport to help wounded warriors on their journey to recovery. Established by Prince Harry, the inaugural Invictus Games took place in London in September 2014; the second, and equally successful, Games took place in Orlando in May 2016. The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 Organizing Committee is tasked with planning and executing a Games that will feature 550 competitors from 17 nations participating in 12 adaptive sports, including, for the first time, golf.

The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 will capture the imaginations of the Canadian public, corporations, and governments, as well as soldiers, veterans, and their families. The Invictus Games Toronto 2017 are funded by the Government of Canada, Province of Ontario, City of Toronto as well as Presenting Partner Jaguar Land Rover and other partners and sponsors.