Prince Harry’s Invictus Games have been a remarkable success since its inception in 2014. However, David Wiseman, a director at the Invictus Games Foundation and a close friend of Harry’s, revealed an intriguing story about how the event’s timeline unfolded. During an interview on HELLO!’s A Right Royal Podcast, Wiseman shared how their inspiration to create the Invictus Games came after a visit to the Warrior Games, a US-based event for injured service personnel and veterans. It was during their reflection on this trip that Harry went “rogue” and shared his grand visions for the future of the games.
A Visionary Idea
Sitting in a Colorado hotel, Harry expressed his admiration for the Warrior Games and his desire to “internationalize” the concept. Without any formal meeting, he outlined his ambitious plans for the Invictus Games. “We need to invite allies and nations from all over the world,” Harry proclaimed. He further suggested hosting the event at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, broadcasting it on the BBC, and even organizing a closing concert. Harry’s enthusiasm was infectious, and he could see the immense potential of the games before anyone else could.
While Harry’s visionary ideas were inspiring, Wiseman admitted that he and the team were taken aback by the ambitious timeline Harry had in mind. It was May 2013 when Harry made these declarations, and later that day, he stood on stage at the Warrior Games and announced his intention to hold the games “next year.” This moment, where Harry went “rogue,” caught the team off guard. They were initially surprised by the tight timeline that Harry had set for the project.
Building the Invictus Games
Despite the initial shock, Wiseman and a small team at the Royal Foundation embarked on the challenging journey of bringing Harry’s vision to life. The team worked tirelessly to ensure that the Invictus Games would become a reality by September 2014. They faced numerous hurdles, but their determination and Harry’s unwavering support kept them going. The Invictus Games launch in 2014 featured nine nations, with Jill Biden attending as a US delegate and the Foo Fighters performing at the closing concert. It was a resounding success, showcasing the incredible achievements of wounded warriors and the power of the Invictus Games platform.
Reflecting on Harry’s role in bringing the Invictus Games to fruition, Wiseman emphasized Harry’s unwavering commitment and pride in his involvement. Despite any disparaging remarks, Wiseman affirmed that Harry had been the visionary from the beginning. Harry’s passion and dedication to the cause were instrumental in making the Invictus Games the global phenomenon they are today.
Impact and Legacy
The Invictus Games have not only provided a platform for wounded warriors to showcase their resilience and strength but have also created a sense of camaraderie and unity among nations. Prince Harry’s vision to internationalize the Games has opened doors for collaboration and has sparked meaningful conversations around the world. The legacy of the Invictus Games extends far beyond sport, leaving an indelible impact on the lives of those who have participated and the countless individuals they inspire.
Prince Harry’s vision for the Invictus Games has reshaped the landscape of adaptive sports and wounded warrior support. His audacious ideas, though initially surprising, proved to be the catalyst for an international event that continues to empower and uplift individuals and nations alike. The Invictus Games stand as a testament to the transformative power of sport and the unwavering resolve of those who face adversity head-on.