In the aftermath of London 2012, focus seemed to be placed on the achievements of the Paralympians who, after decades of advancement in order to be recognised on an equal berth to their Olympic counterparts, seemed to be recognised with increased television coverage and tournament exposure. As such, a wide array of influencers seemed to aim to capitalise on this, with Prince Harry perhaps the most notable example and, as a result, the maiden Invictus Games occurred. Recently, the third instalment of the competition transpired and, whilst a wide array of competitors contested for medals, the results seemed to be secondary due to the overarching ideology of the games; with Prince Harry having previously vocalised his desire to ensure troops may continue to be remembered after their service, this suggestion seems to be reemphasised, with the event ultimately underpinning how sport may be pivotal in uniting countries under a common quest.
The games themselves invite veterans from complex situations who, often having to deal with the consequences of their involvement, may be aiming to be provided with an incentive to restart their lives, and pursue a fresh goal. Organisers’ speeches seem to cement this ideology, often with a specific focus on providing these athletes with a new lease of life and, when coupled with the use of the word, ‘Invictus’, possessing connotations of strength and determination, it seems those involved in the tournament, via competing or supporting, may resonate with this. This may be a key factor behind the event gaining increased status and recognition, as in advancing opportunities for all, and highlighting the key traits possessed by these athletes, they may attain public support, and with the necessity for servicemen and women ultimately increasing due to recent complex predicaments around Europe, there may be an influx of people striving to involve themselves, meaning the event may continue to flourish.
With the games having therefore continuously expanded its reach, it seemed a natural advancement to expand the tournament, and involve more countries and competitors. In addition, this year’s edition, contrastingly to previous years, where all the events took place in one arena, had multiple venues hosting proceedings, and with a number of sports, requiring ranging skill sets, occurring, it seemed both competitors and fans may have been productively impacted; for the former, it may have enabled them to find a sport best suited to their needs, whilst for the latter it may have led to intriguing encounters across a range of events, meaning a majority of people may have been interested and therefore further expanding the reach.
With the 2017 championships the third in history, there may already be an insight into how successful the tournament may be, with the support and publicity levels attained in the time period since its inception ultimately laying the foundations for a consistent tenure at the pinnacle. Yet, the involvement of influential figures may have been most important in enhancing the games’ credibility, with former US President Barack Obama a notable presence. With these athletes meeting Obama, it may have motivated them to perform at their peak capabilities, and whilst this may have led to further intriguing performances for fans, it may have more poignantly led to these athletes achieving higher accolades due to their increased drive.
As such, the games seem to be advancing the sport of athletics, as with the debate surrounding enhancements currently ongoing, potentially impacting the credibility of the sport, this event seems to be drawing focus onto the beneficial aspects as the necessity intensifies. With the results easily accessible via the internet, and a website dedicated to the event, it seems the organisers may be prioritising impacting a wide breadth of people, simultaneously advancing the Paralympic cause in addition to productively impacting the entirety of the sport. Yet, its crowning glory may be its unification of a number of countries, as whilst naturally the support of the public may be the catalyst in ensuring the event may be well received, and thus may extend its tenure, in bypassing geographical boundaries to unite former comrades, the games may be setting a precedent which the rest of the globe may follow.
How may the competition continue to influence athletics to enhance equality?