Skip to content

Sports This Week: Invictus Games headed to Canada in 2025

The games with be held Feb. 8-16 in 2025.
Peacemaker Azuegbulam from Nageria on the ski slope.

YORKTON - A major international athletic event in coming to Vancouver and Whistler in 2025.

The two communities and the country will host teams from 25 countries taking part in the seventh edition of the Invictus Games.

For those unfamiliar with the Invictus Games they are “an international multi-sport event first held in 2014, for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both serving and veterans,” according to Wikipedia.

“The word 'Invictus' is Latin for 'unconquered', chosen as an embodiment of the fighting spirit of the wounded, injured and sick service personnel and what they can achieve, post-injury.

“The Invictus Games were founded by Prince Harry the Duke of Sussex in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, who announced that the ‘Invictus Games’, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, would take place in London from 10-14 September 2014.”

The event was last held in Canada in 2017 with Toronto as the host city.

Robyn McVicker, Deputy CEO with the Vancouver Games, said the Invictus Games are rather unique in as much as they are about more than the winning of medals.

“It’s to support members of the military in their recovery,” she explained in a recent interview with Yorkton This Week.

McVicker said the Games are a chance for participants – a word she preferred to athlete – a chance to compete in sport as a step in their individual recoveries.

“It’s really not about elite sport,” she said. “It’s the ability to show up and compete.”

Looking ahead to 2025, McVicker explained that countries participating are allocated how many participants can attend – typically 20 for smaller countries, and 50 to 60 for countries such as Great Britain, Australia and the United States.

Canada, as host will have 56 participants with the team to be named this July.

One of the unique aspects of the Invictus Games is that it is what McVicker termed “a shared experience.”

Each participant is allowed to bring two supporters – typically family or friend – at the expense of the Games, to share in the experience.

McVicker said it is an opportunity for someone close to the participant “to share in the experience of a lifetime.”

The Vancouver Games will also offer something no previous edition of the Invictus Games has – winter sport.

“It’s been a dream to do winter sports in the Invictus Games,” said McVicker, adding a number of participating countries – like Canada – have winter. By expanding to encompass winter sports – Nordic skiing, curling, biathlon and skeleton among them – it broadens what sports are available to aid the all important recovery process.

Interestingly, the organizers had to bring representatives from participating countries together in Whistler this February for a winter training camp to basically show ‘proof of concept’ in terms of winter sports.

“Some people had never seen snow,” noted McVicker.

She tells the story of a Nigerian soldier Peacemaker Azuegbulam who was part of the gathering. After trying skiing he termed the day the best of his life.

The next day, the soldier tried skeleton – where the basic instruction was to ‘be a sack of potatoes and enjoy the ride’ as it heads down the course at 100 kilometres an hour. At the bottom of the run, he said he had been wrong a day earlier as ‘this was now the best day of his life.’ He added skeleton was easy as “all it takes is courage.”

It was important to try the winter events as athletes are expected to compete in at least one winter and one traditional sport.

The games with be held Feb. 8-16 in 2025.