The Invictus Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women.
“These games have shone a spotlight on the unconquerable character of servicemen and women, their families and the “invictus spirit.” Prince Harry
Watching the daily news I saw a story about Sarah Rudder and her participation in these games. Her story and incredible strength of character is why I blog. As a Marine, working at the Pentagon on 9-11, she became a casualty when concrete fell and crushed her foot during recovery operations. With so much misery in the world, we need reminders that we are remarkably resilient humans. Sarah’s story gives inspiration that we can rise above our circumstances. Her story is below, one of the 550 athlete’s competing, all with their own stories of overcoming adversity.
Hope, strength, courage. This is what we can give to others. You’ve got this! Show up and make a difference. It does the heart good.
Britain’s Prince Harry, who founded the Invictus Games in 2014 as a competition for wounded service members, awarded Rudder her first gold medal.
“For me, it was an absolute honor,” said Rudder. “Seeing the change that he’s made for all athletes of all countries, not just his own. He’s there supporting every single country.”
She overcame a blood clot in her first year as an amputee and found a way to heal both inside and out when a group of fellow Marine veterans invited her to start competing in sports.
“For us, it’s healing,” Rudder said of competing against other service members at events like Invictus. “We’re proving to not only others but to ourselves that we can continue to fight. We had to adapt and we overcame.”
Rudder’s husband, sister, and parents were on hand to watch her race to victory in Toronto, as well as her 9-year-old son, Xavier.
This year’s Invictus Games in Toronto featured 550 competitors from 17 nations. The athletes have spent the past week competing in 12 different sports, from powerlifting to cycling and wheelchair rugby.
All 550 of the competitors are active duty and veteran service members who “have become ill or injured during or as a direct consequence of their service,” according to the games’ website.
Rudder is one of 90 U.S. athletes competing in this year’s games, according to the Department of Defense.
Rudder said she is especially proud of the message her gold-medal winning performances send to her son.
“It allows him to know that we don’t give up. We continue, no matter what we have in life, we continue,” she said. “For him, the respect of our military is at a high all the time.”