By Lilia Mickenzie
Edited by Savvas Savvinidis
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort will be hosting the Invictus Games this May 8th-12th. There will be 500 competitors from 15 nations.
Inspired by the Warrior Games held in Colorado in 2013, the Invictus Games are multi-sport, paralympic event designed for wounded war veterans. Competitive events include swimming, sitting volleyball, and wheelchair-based adaptations of rugby and basketball.
These will be only the second annual Invictus Games, the first having taken place in London, England, where the games are headquartered. The games were held at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in September of 2014, with fourteen countries receiving invitations and all but Iraq sending athletes to the games.
The Invictus Games provide a remarkable opportunity for amputee veterans to prove themselves in an athletic setting and on an international level. For those with unfulfilled desires of competing in olympic-level sporting events, and those seeking to adjust to civilian life in a meaningful way, it is a beacon of hope.
One of this year’s competitors is Kirstie Ennis, a former U.S. Marine who was injured in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan in 2012. She completed a 1,000 mile charity walk with Prince Henry of Wales (Prince Harry) just weeks before she had her left leg amputated below the knee; following her contracting of MRSA, her leg was further amputated above the knee. With support from family and friends, Kirstie has been aiming for a speedy recovery and hopes to swim competitively at this years Invictus Games.
The second annual Invictus Games will be attended by Prince Henry of Wales, the games’ founder and president. Also in attendance will be First Lady Michelle Obama. Several media outlets will be providing live coverage, including The Sandbox, so keep an eye out for live tweets as well as photographs and further articles!
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