Düsseldorf, 16.09.2023 – The INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023 presented by Boeing have come to an end with a spectacular Closing Ceremony. The highlight of the show was the galvanising performance by the singer/songwriter Rita Ora. From 9 to 16 September, the Invictus Games Park surrounding the MERKUR SPIEL ARENA was the venue for this unique sporting event for physically and mentally wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women. Over 500 competitors from 21 nations vied for 666 medals in 229 competitions across the week.
Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier praised the very special aura of these Games in his speech at the Closing Ceremony: „What s special atmosphere – and what a particular moment that I can share with you here. Those who do not know the Invictus Games – and I hear they are getting less and less – those who do not know these Games, perhaps cannot conceive the feeling that immediately envelopes everyone when they enter the arena. When you come to the Invictus Games, you don’t just visit a sporting event with exciting competitions, international teams and the odd nail biting final match, although that too is on offer. The emotion that comes over you the very moment you enter this hall is more than that: It is one of a tremendously strong feeling of community and solidarity.“
With more than 140.000 spectators, the project team’s expectations were significantly exceeded. Brigadier General Alfred Marstaller, CEO Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023, said “The Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 were an unforgettable celebration of joy, determination and optimism. The competitors impressively demonstrated to all of us what a powerful effect sport has on successful rehabilitation. Here in Düsseldorf, we have also experienced the strong and indispensable effect that the support of family and friends can have.”
Commenting on the success of the Invictus Games, the Federal Minister of Defence, Boris Pistorius, said: “The Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 has honoured its promise of being ‘A Home for Respect’. I would foremost like to convey my utmost respect to the wounded, injured and sick and thank them most sincerely for taking part. They have taken their destiny into their own hands and demonstrated power and endurance, courage and will power! I would also like to thank the many soldiers, including numerous reservists, for making these games possible. For them it was more than a task, it was an act of comradeship. Together we have succeeded in increasing social awareness of the plight of those wounded in the line of duty. Where respect for people in uniform is concerned, I very much hope that we will remain in touch now that this week has come to an end.”
With about 800 accredited journalists, reporting on the Invictus Games was characterized by cheerful pictures of hope, rehabilitation and regained strength. The exuberant atmosphere in the stands emanating from the more than 1,000 members of the competitor support staff in the scope of the family & friends program attracted international attention, with many visitors from the region “catching the bug”.
Düsseldorf’s Mayor Dr Stephan Keller said, “The Invictus Games have added to Düsseldorf’s international charisma in a very special way. It was nice to see how the participants, when not participating in competitions, accompanied by their many relatives and friends sat next to one another and together filled the extensive Invictus Games event site, and also our city centre, with life. Making the Games visible in Düsseldorf and filling citizens with enthusiasm for this unique event has always been of importance to us. And we have made a success of this. Nobody was oblivious to the Invictus Games. I would like to thank the Bundeswehr and D.LIVE for so perfectly organizing this terrific event. And I would like to express my gratitude to the 1,100 volunteers without whom the Invictus Games would not have been possible. Not only did we organize games for the disabled. We created a platform for solidarity, community spirit and international dialogue. The Invictus Games have demonstrated to us how high the price for freedom is. And that it is imperative to stand up for our free and democratic basic order each and every day.”
The seventh Invictus Games will take place in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025 – the first time in the Games’ history with a hybrid winter sports edition. “As the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 draw to a close, I stand here with a heart filled with gratitude, pride, and a renewed sense of purpose. Representing Team Canada at these Games has been an incredible journey, filled with camaraderie, determination, and unforgettable moments. The support we received from our families, friends, and the Canadian community has been overwhelming. We look forward to showcasing our country’s hospitality, resilience, and inclusivity on a global stage at the 2025 Invictus Games in Vancouver-Whistler“, said Erika Moore from British Columbia an member of Team Canada 2023.
In order to perpetuate the Invictus movement, the newly founded organization INVICTUS GERMANY continues to spread the Invictus spirit in Germany. The initiative aims to stimulate a rethink and dialogue in society in the future and to spread and further develop the unique idea of the international Invictus Games. INVICTUS GERMANY focuses on the people who ensure the freedom and security of everyone through their service to their country. These wounded injured or sick soldiers and veterans and all those in uniform as well as their families deserve all our support for their rehabilitation. Family members and friends make an important contribution to a new beginning and face great challenges themselves. Reasons enough to recognise and include them for their achievements as well. As early as 2024, INVICTUS GERMANY will invite to a sports event of the same name in Düsseldorf. In addition to a German team, international teams can also participate. In line with the vision for the INVICTUS GAMES DÜSSELDORF 2023, the German team for this sporting event next year will also include a limited number of participants from the “blue light organisations” (such as the police, fire brigade and technical relief organisation). All information can be found at: www.invictusgermany.de
Headerbild: Opening Ceremony Stage | Getty Images