British Columbia

Invictus Games to feature winter sports for 1st time when Vancouver, Whistler host in 2025

A new-look Invictus Games is coming to Vancouver and Whistler in 2025, featuring winter adaptive sports for the first time.

Hosts of 8-day competition for wounded and ill military personnel were announced by Prince Harry

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, attend the opening ceremony of the Invictus Games venue in The Hague, Netherlands on April 16, 2022. Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., will host the Invictus Games in 2025. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, Pool)

A new-look Invictus Games is coming to Vancouver and Whistler, featuring winter adaptive sports for the first time.

Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, announced Friday the two B.C. municipalities will host the eight-day international sports competition for wounded and ill military personnel in February 2025.

"As Invictus continues to adapt and evolve, I am extremely excited to announce that the Invictus Games Foundation has selected Canada to host the first-ever Winter Hybrid Games in 2025,'' Prince Harry, founder and patron on the competition, said in a statement.

"The Invictus Games Vancouver-Whistler 2025 will offer a global platform to expand the range and profile of winter adaptive sports.''

Prince Harry started the games in 2014.

The competition will feature alpine skiing, nordic skiing, skeleton and wheelchair curling as well as swimming, indoor rowing, sitting volleyball, wheelchair rugby and wheelchair basketball.

Over 500 athletes from more than 20 nations are expected to compete.

Prince Harry shakes hands with a British team member after the wheelchair basketball final of the Invictus Games in The Hague on April 22. (Piroschka Van De Wouw/REUTERS)

The bid to host in Vancouver and Whistler was submitted by the municipalities as well as the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations.

Coun. Dennis Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation was in The Hague on Friday for the announcement as this year's Invictus Games came to a close.

"This whole experience has been overwhelming ... witnessing stories from war veterans and the people that served their country and the power of sport and camaraderie," Thomas told CBC, speaking outside the venue in the Netherlands on Friday. 

"There's a lot of Indigenous war veterans that have represented their country and for them to see the magnitude of the games come to Vancouver, I think [it's] is going to be something special."

Coun. Dennis Thomas of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, left, speaks with Prince Harry, centre left, in The Hague on Friday after the announcement around the 2025 Invictus Games. (Supplied by the Tsleil-Waututh Nation)

True Patriot Love, a Canadian foundation that supports military members, veterans and their families, is partnering with local governments, First Nations, the provincial government and the federal government to host the 2025 games.

The foundation previously helped put on the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto, during which Prince Harry and then-girlfriend Meghan Markle made their first official public appearance as a couple.

"We learned [in 2017] just how popular the games are in Canada,''said Nick Booth, the CEO of True Patriot Love. "The Canadian public really came out to support, celebrate and volunteer. And we're sure the public of British Columbia will do the same.''

Prince Harry sits with then-girlfriend Meghan Markle to watch a wheelchair tennis event during the Invictus Games in Toronto on Sept. 25, 2017.

New York and Seattle were the two other cities shortlisted as potential hosts. 

London hosted the first Invictus Games in 2014. 

Booth was also in the Netherlands, taking in the event and said he's been inspired once again by what he's seen.

"They're all amazing events. They change — in fact, they save — people's lives. I've met people who've told me they're alive because of the Invictus Games,'' he said.

"Part of this journey for the athletes is not just the physical journey. Part of it is the sense of recognition and celebration they get from the crowd.''

Vancouver and Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics and both municipalities are backing a bid by local First Nations to hold the 2030 Winter Games

Corrections

  • A photo featuring Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in an earlier version of this story misstated the date and location of the event. The story also said the prince started the games in 2013, when, in fact, it was 2014.
    Apr 26, 2022 7:27 PM PT

With files from Joel Ballard/CBC

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