Last night, the Invictus Games capped off a weeklong event of sports competition at a closing ceremony in Air Canada Centre. The ceremony celebrated war-wounded athletes’ successes and passed the torch to the 2018 hosts from Sydney, Australia. The two-hour show brought out two famed rock stars Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams together on stage for the first time ever.
Prince Harry presented a participation medal to the captain of each team after the 17 country parade of nations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau delivered a warm message saying “These Invictus Games are a celebration of your fearlessness,” she said.
Video screens across the theatre displayed highlights from the week and musical performances by Bruce Springsteen, Bryan Adams, Coeur de pirate, Kelly Clarkson and Bachman & Turner were interwoven between speeches.
United Kingdom’s Mark Ormrod was the winner of the Jaguar Award for exceptional performance, determination and dedication. Team Afghanistan won the Land Rover Above and Beyond Award for sportsmanship, commitment and spirit.
Ontario’s Premiere Kathleen Wynne also thanked the volunteers and introduced the flag handover segment as Invictus Games Foundation chair Sir Keith Mills passed the flag to the Australian delegation.
The CEO of Invictus Games Michael Burns, who is the co-founder of True Patriot Love Foundation, a charity that supports military families also congratulated the participants and thanked the team members, volunteer, friends and families.
This was followed by a pop interlude by generated a fantastic pop midstream through the ceremony. Armed with just an acoustic guitar, capo, and harmonica, he wowed the audience with a three-song set that included “Working on the Highway,” “The Promised Land,” and “Dancing in the Dark.”
Next up was Bryan Adams, who performed “Summer of ’69” before bringing Springsteen back out for chugging versions of “Cuts Like a Knife” and “Badlands.”
Bachman & Turner closed the ceremony with a medley dubbed the “Canadian Send-Off.” It included classic rock anthems “Taking Care of Business,” “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet,” “Let It Ride,” and “Rolling Down the Highway.”
It was a week of intense competition, inspiring displays of courage, and for many, and an important milestone in a challenging road to recovery.
As the 2017 Invictus Games drew to a close families, dignitaries and hundreds of spectators gathered to celebrate the triumph of the 500+wounded service people and veterans who travelled from 17 countries to compete over the past week. It was an honor to be in the company of celebrities, leaders and royals who recognized the wounded warriors and their families for their services and strength.
As Prince Harry, the founder of these Games rightfully said “You have done it. This is the moment, right here, right now, shoulder to shoulder: You are Invictus.”