This year’s Invictus Games have been a roaring success, with Prince Harry, founder of the competition, giving many interviews, receiving more marriage proposals and handing out medals at the games.
Invictus kicked off with a dazzling opening ceremony on Sunday, with Harry, First Lady Michelle Obama, Morgan Freeman and former President George W Bush all at the beginning of this opened the glittering ceremony with inspiring and emotional speeches with performances by US Marine Corps and singers James Blunt and Laura Wright.
Prince Harry gave an emotional speech that payed tribute to the games competitors and to those servicemen and women that didn’t make it.
On stage the 31-year-old said: “I can’t tell you how proud I am to have the second Invictus Games open in America. I’m a long way from London tonight, but when I look out, I see so many familiar faces, servicemen and women, their friends and their families and all of the people who got them here. I feel like I’m at home.”
Based on his service in Afghanistan he said to understand the true cost of war saying and raised awarness for “invisible injuries – the mental health issues regularly faced by those returned from conflict zones: “When I joined the Army I just wanted to be one of the guys. What I learned through serving were the extreme privileges of being a prince and the opportunity I have to help my military family.
“I learned about the importance of teamwork and camaraderie in a way that only military service can teach you. And when I traveled back from the battlefield on a plane carrying the body of a Danish soldier and three young Brits fighting for their lives, I began to understand the true cost of war.” Harry explained.
Towards the end of the ceremony Michele Obama spoke saying: “It is truly an honour to be here tonight to help kick off this year’s Invictus Games,” she said. “I want to, of course, start by thanking Prince Harry for his outstanding leadership and for bringing the Invictus Games here to Orlando. He is truly our Prince Charming. He should be proud of his work.”
Thousand of people gathered to attend the opening ceremony which lasted for two hours. The second grand opening sold out, more than 500 athletes from 14 countries will compete over four days in this Paralympic sports event.
Harry also received an offer of marriage from George Bush’ daughter: Jenna Bush Hager told the Prince that her twin sister, Barbara, was “available” if he wanted to go out with her! The moment was broadcast ov TV. Bush Hager is NBC’s Today Show correspondent.
On Monday after the women’s time trial at the cycling events, Harry surprised everyone by giving out medals, posing for pictures and a handing out kisses to each female winner. He posed for pictures with Katie Kuiper road cyclist and former sergeant who served in the US, kissing her on the cheek.
Up at the podium Bronze medalist Ana Manciaz from Team USA showed her dance moves. Ana Manciaz said to People Magazine that Prince Harry had said at that moment: “You were looking for an excuse to dance” she also said: “He said congratulations and I thanked him for putting the Games on”.
Jenniffer Schuble, a Gold Medalist for the same team added to People Magazine : “Normally you get gorgeous female models giving out medals at traditional cycling events. To have Prince Harry was absolutely unbelievable – ten times better for a women than getting a model!”
The former Captain Wales has been seen getting to know Military families, chatting to children and veterans, as well as posing for photos with serving personnel and even starting races!
Former US Marine Jenae Piper, who won two gold medal for Team USA spoke about Prince Harry to People Magazine saying: “He definitely likes to get around everyone,” he added: “He’s not selective. He’s easy to talk to, very upbeat and full of positive energy.”
Micky Yule, a former staff sergeant, won Britain’s first gold medal at the event in the lightweight powelifting competition. Prince Harry presented the medal to Yule and gave the champion a hug. Micky, 39-year old from Edinburgh, had served with the Royal Engineers and lost both his legs when stepping onto an explosive in Afganistan in 2010.
Yule described Prince Harry as “top lad” saying: “Do you know what, he’s such a supporter and I think without Prince Harry’s input into the whole games, I’m sure it wouldn’t be what it is. He puts himself out, he’s around everybody. You see him in the back helping everybody.”
To promote the Invictus Games in the USA, Robin Roberts tele Host presented a joint exclusive interview on ABC’s Good Mourning America with Prince Harry alongside First Lady Michelle Obama in which the two discussed discussed the importance of the Invictus Games. They also laughed when speaking about their dueling exchange videos about the games, as the First Lady said “digging on each other”.
Prince Harry spoke about how he had approached The Queen to film the video to take on Barack and Michelle Obama’s challenge. He said: “I didn’t want to ask The Queen, because I didn’t want to back her into a corner, but when I showed her the video and told her, she was like ‘right, what do we need to do – let’s do this’.”
“Who else could top the President?”
Mrs Obama told Roberts of Harry and his best behaviour back at recent meetings in London with the British Royals. She said: “I have to say that the most precious thing – if you haven’t already fallen in love – is to see him with his nephew,”.
She revealed a little about meeting Prince George a few weeks ago: “Throughout he was like, ‘Uncle Harry, Why are you so quiet?’.”. Harry responded saying: “Usually I’m throwing him around the room and stuff.”