I want to start by saying thank you. Thank you to Michael Burns and his team, to all the amazing volunteers, to our friends and families, and to the people of Toronto.
You have delivered the biggest Invictus Games yet, with the most incredible atmosphere, making our competitors feel like the stars they are.
One week ago, I told you that you needed to be ready. But even I, could not have been ready for the scale of what we witnessed at these Games. I told you to be ready for some fierce competition. But I’m not sure any of us were ready for a group of men from Georgia - who until three years ago had never even played the game to battle all the way to gold in sitting volleyball.
I told you to be ready to see examples of determination, that would give you power in your own lives. But I’m not sure any of us were ready to see Mark Ormrod, with a medal round his neck, hoisting his son onto his shoulders, and capturing the imagination of the world. I told you to be ready to see the true meaning of teamwork.
But who could have predicted how powerful it would be to see competitors from Ukraine, Denmark, Romania, and America, band together, to form Team Unconquered, and win a sitting volleyball game with people they just met. I told you to get ready to see role models that children would look up to. But who could have imagined that Randi Gavell, would compete on the track, on the court and in the pool, having battled back from emotional challenges, and while four and a half months pregnant.
I think we all know who Randi’s little girl is going to look up to. I told you to be ready to see lives change in front of your eyes. But I didn’t tell you that some of those lives, would be your own. I told you that anything is possible, if you have the will. But I didn’t tell you that when we saw triple amputee Mike Nicholson nail a 150 yard drive on the golf course, that our idea of what we thought was possible, would change forever. I told you, you would be inspired. But I didn’t say, that these games, might leave you questioning, if you are living to your own true potential.
To the thousands who filled the stands this week, and the millions who watched at home, let me issue you a challenge. Don’t just move on from these games with happy memories. Instead, make an Invictus goal for yourselves. Let the examples of service and resilience that you have seen, inspire you to take action to improve something - big or small - in your life, for your family, or in your community. Let’s create a ripple effect of the Invictus spirit across our nations, that will be the real legacy of this extraordinary week.
As I did a week ago, I want to end by speaking directly to our competitors. Right now you’re on a high - at the summit of a mountain many of you thought was too high to climb. You have done it.
This is the moment, right here, right now, shoulder to shoulder,
You are Invictus. These Games are not about gold, silver or bronze medals. They never have been. They’re about the journey that you and your families have made to the start line. Now, going home, it might be tough, as the excitement fades, but you have faced much greater challenges before, it will be a breeze. As I have said many times, once you have served, you are always serving.
On your return home, I want you to set a new Invictus goal. Make a plan about how you are going to use the experience of this week, to help lift up all those around you. It might be something big, like starting a new project for young people. Or, it might be something small, like reconnecting with an old friend.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your step is - just take it. Our world needs your dedication and passion like never before. And you never know, this may just be the missing piece of the puzzle to help you regain that satisfaction of serving others once again. And, I’d also ask for one more important favour.
I bet you can all think of at least one person who would benefit from the Invictus Games, but has yet to find the motivation to make that first step. When we gather in Sydney next year, I look forward to seeing familiar faces in competition.
But, more than anything, I hope to meet those who have watched these games at home, who may still be struggling, but with your support will wear their nation’s flag on their chest once again as part of the 2018 Games.
And I want to see those who have competed this year, back by their sides cheering them on, as others have done for you. The Invictus Games are not just for the already determined.
These Games are for those who need it most. Please help us find them.
It's gonna be Game On, Down Under.
I’ll see you in Australia.