Top 5 things to know about Invictus Games 2016 in Orlando!

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When His Royal Highness, Prince Harry of Wales, announced last July that the Invictus Games were coming to Orlando, we were immediately onboard.  What an honor! [And in case you hadn’t heard, the Invictus Games are coming to Central Florida!] This inspiring adaptive sports event for wounded warriors of all kinds will begin at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex this Sunday, Mother’s Day, May 8th beginning with a grand Opening Ceremony on May 8th at 6pm and is almost SOLD OUT!

[Click here for full schedule]

We’ve been sworn to secrecy about the details but what we can tell you… the Invictus Games’ Opening Ceremonies are going to HUUUUGE. Alongside military performances and shared stories from Veterans and Active Duty members from around the world, Prince Harry, First Lady Michelle Obama (What up, FLOTUS?!), James Blunt, Laura Wright and more surprise guests will be in attendance at this one-of-a-kind event.

Also very cool to note, the Invictus Games will be preceded by The Invictus Games Symposium on Invisible Wounds, presented by the George W. Bush Institute. (Former President Bush also serves as Honorary Chairman for the Invictus Games Orlando 2016.) The symposium will focus on understanding the multiple facets of invisible wounds and how the warriors, caregivers, general public, providers, and influencers each play an important role in helping servicemen and women succeed. Many see the visible wounds of combat but many never think of the psychological ones – PTSD and brain trauma among them – that follow these folks home, and for the rest of their lives.

Athletes, caregivers, medical and policy experts, and providers will discuss such topics as; Understanding the Impact of Invisible Wounds, Recognizing the Need for Help, Overcoming the Barriers to Seeking Care, Navigating and Improving the Systems of Care and Addressing Invisible Wounds.  You can sign up to livestream the symposium here before Sunday’s Opening Ceremonies.

Invictus Games Orlando 2016 Map

Fourteen nations will be competing this weekend including; Afghanistan, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Estonia, France, Georgia, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States! (Iraq was supposed to as well but could not attend.) Of the 500 competitors, 115 Servicewomen and men will represent the United States!

The first Invictus Games began in 2014 after His Royal Highness, Prince Harry of Wales, took a trip to the Warrior Games here in the United States. After seeing how the power of sport could help Servicemembers with life-changing injuries (visible or otherwise), he decided London would host the Inaugural Invictus Games internationally.

The word ‘invictus‘ is a Latin adjective which means unconquered. As Prince Harry has said, “These Games have shone a spotlight on the ‘unconquerable’ character of service men and women and their families and their ‘Invictus’ spirit. These Games have been about seeing guys sprinting for the finish line and then turning round to clap the last man in. They have been about teammates choosing to cross the line together, not wanting to come second, but not wanting the other guys to either. These Games have shown the very best of the human spirit.

InvicTip: Check out English poet William Ernest Henley’s poem, Invictus, which was written while the author was in the hospital battling tuberculosis.

As if this all of this wasn’t enough of a reason to attend, watch and support the Invictus Games Orlando 2016, here are five more:

1. Sports!

Longtime fans of sports in general already love to watch sports and attend games in person. Of the ten competitive events at Invictus Games 2016; archery, indoor rowing, powerlifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, track and field, swimming, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair tennis, we’re sure you’ll find a new favorite.

2. #MoreThanThankYou is more than [a] hashtag

Anytime one sees a Servicewoman or man in uniform, we’ve all grown accustomed to thanking them for their service to our country. Of course these more than just words, and we’re sure those in uniform (and their families) thank you for the gratitude. A gentleman named Ken Fisher, Chairman and CEO of Fisher House Foundation, challenges all of us to say more than ‘thank you’ by attending the Games and sharing the story of a friend or family member, Active Duty or Veteran, on Instagram using the hashtag #MoreThanThankYou.

InvicTip: Read my exclusive interview with Fisher House Foundation CEO, Ken Fisher, on wearables4good.org!

3. The Competition is REAL – ask the UK and Canada!

Uh oh. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama dropped the mic, and the gauntlet. Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and His Royal Highness, Prince Harry have something to say about this…

As does Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau

Oh SNAP! It’s ON like Donkey Kong.

4. Ticket prices are very reasonable

A single event ticket for adults is only $18, and Seniors are only $13. Children ages 3-9 are $13. (Under 3 is FREE) Active Duty military and Veteran tickets are only $13. Tickets for Opening Ceremonies on May 8th cost $65, and Closing Ceremonies on May 12th at 6pm cost $45. Keep in mind, the ticket prices we’ve listed are per event. You will need more than one ticket if attending more than one event. General Parking at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex is FREE, valet services will be available for an unconfirmed fee. [Click here for WWoS Guest Services and further information.]

For those wanting to stay over, Walt Disney World Resort room reservation agents are available from Monday to Friday, 8:30 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern time, along with Saturday and Sunday from 8:30 AM to 5 PM Eastern time by calling (407) 939-4686. Rooms are available at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort for $178 per night plus tax and Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort for $113 per night plus tax.

InvicTip: Archery Finals, Sitting Volleyball Semis & Finals, Wheelchair Rugby Semis & Finals, Wheelchair Tennis Semis & Finals, and Wheelchair Basketball Finals are very close to selling out according to Ticketmaster’s site. Act FAST!

5. If you can’t attend physically, you can watch & support virtually!

We’d love to see you here in Orlando but understand if you or your family can’t physically make this year’s Invictus Games. You can still watch the Invictus Games Orlando 2016 LIVE online and on ESPN 2 & 3 via the app or on TV. You can also participate by following #InvictusOrlando on their official social channels: 

We also encourage you to support the Games beyond their visit to Orlando, and learn more about the Invictus Games Foundation by clicking here. Next year’s games will be in Toronto, Canada! Perhaps we’ll be visiting readers in our Neighbors to the North next year?

2016 Invictus Games viewing schedule:

Date Time (ET) Event/Commentators Network
Sun, May 8 8 – 10 p.m. Opening Ceremony ESPN2
Mon, May 9 8 – 11 a.m. Powerlifting Finals  ESPN3
  1:30 – 4:30 p.m. Rowing Finals  ESPN3
7 – 10:30 p.m. Archery Finals  ESPN3
  7 – 8 p.m. Day 1 Primetime Show  ESPN2
Tue, May 10 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Track & Field Finals  ESPN3
2 – 4:30 p.m. Sitting Volleyball Semifinals  ESPN3
  7 – 9:30 p.m. Sitting Volleyball Gold & Bronze Matches ESPN3
7 – 8:30 p.m. Day 2 Primetime Show  ESPN
Wed, May 11 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Swimming Finals  ESPN3
2 – 4:30 p.m. Wheelchair Rugby Semifinals  ESPN3
  7:30 – 11p.m. Wheelchair Rugby Gold & Bronze Medal Matches & Exhibition  ESPN3
7 – 8 p.m. Day 3 Primetime Show  ESPN2
Thur, May 12 8 – 10 a.m. Wheelchair Tennis Final  ESPN3
  10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Wheelchair Basketball Semifinals  ESPN3
  2 – 4 p.m. Wheelchair Basketball Gold & Bronze Medal Matches  ESPN3
  7 – 10 p.m. Closing Ceremony ESPN2
Sun, May 13 1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Encore Presentation Primetime Show ABC

See you this weekend!