Fourteen countries, more than 500 competitors, 10 sporting events and one week in Orlando – these are the 2016 Invictus Games. Created by Prince Harry for wounded, ill and injured service men and women, both active duty and veteran, the Invictus Games not only gather these athletes in the spirit of competition and camaraderie but they also raise awareness for the way that sports can aid in the recovery and rehabilitation of its participants.
Wounded warriors will participate in sporting events like archery, indoor rowing, power lifting, road cycling, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and field, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rubgy, and wheelchair tennis.
This morning, the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort was buzzing with activity related to the Invictus Games. Swimmers competed in preliminary rounds and sitting volleyball matches took place. Spectators filled the stands to cheer on their teams and respective athletes. Prince Harry even stopped in to both events to support competitors. The Jaguar Land Rover Drive Challenge, presented by the event’s sponsors, tested the communication, teamwork and strategic planning skills of two members from each competing nation between events.
Oviedo resident Michael Roggio, a retired Petty Officer 3rd Class from the United States Navy, competed in his first Invictus Games as part of the men’s 100-meter freestyle at today’s swimming preliminaries. With a final time of 1:07:50, Roggio earned one of his personal best times and will be moving on to the swimming finals on May 11. He just missed qualifying for the first Invictus Games, held in London in 2014, making today’s victory that much sweeter for him.
Learn more about this hometown participant in the video below.
There are still tickets available for the opening ceremonies, which will take place on Sunday evening and will feature Laura Wright, James Blunt and a number of military musical performances, as well as the closing ceremonies on May 12 with Rascal Flatts, Flo Rida, Rachel Platten, Phillip Phillips from “American Idol” and Jordan Smith from “The Voice.” There is also ticket availability for all of the sporting events in between.