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An international sporting event is coming to Canada in 2015.

An international sporting event is coming to Canada in 2015.

The Games will be held from February 8 to 16, 2025.

YORKTON – A major international sporting event is coming to Vancouver and Whistler in 2025.

The two communities and the country will host teams from 25 countries participating in the seventh edition of the Invictus Games.

For those who aren't familiar with the Invictus Games, they are “an international multi-sport event held for the first time in 2014, for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, both service members and veterans,” according to Wikipedia.

“Invictus” is Latin for “invincible,” and was chosen to embody the fighting spirit of wounded, injured and ill service members and what they can achieve after injury.

“The Invictus Games were established by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, who announced that the ‘Invictus Games’, an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel, will take place in London from 10-14 September 2014.”

The event was last held in Canada in 2017 with Toronto as the host city.

The Invictus Games are somewhat unique in that they are about more than just winning medals, said Robin McVicker, executive vice president of the Vancouver Games.

“It's to support military members in their recovery,” she explained in a recent interview with Yorkton This Week Magazine.

McVicker said the Games represent an opportunity for participants – a word she prefers to athletes – a chance to compete in sports as a step in their individual recovery.

“It's not really about elite sport,” she said. “It's the ability to show up and compete.”

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Looking ahead to 2025, McVicker explained that the number of participants who can attend is allocated to participating countries – typically 20 for smaller countries, and 50 to 60 for countries such as Great Britain, Australia and the United States.

Canada, as the host nation, will have 56 participants with the team that will be named next July.

One unique aspect of the Invictus Games is that they are what McVicker called a “shared experience.”

Each participant is allowed to bring two supporters – usually family or friends – on their gaming account to participate in the experience.

It's an opportunity for someone close to the participant to “share in the experience of a lifetime,” McVicker said.

The Vancouver Games will also offer something the previous edition of the Invictus Games did not – winter sports.

“It was a dream to play winter sports at the Invictus Games,” McVicker said, adding that a number of participating countries – such as Canada – have a winter season. By expanding to include winter sports – nordic skiing, curling, biathlon, and snowboarding among them – it expands the range of sports available to aid in the all-important recovery process.

Interestingly, the organizers had to bring representatives from the participating countries together in Whistler last February for a winter training camp to demonstrate a “proof of concept” regarding winter sports.

“Some people have never seen snow before,” McVicker noted.

It tells the story of the Nigerian soldier peacemaker Azewegbulam who was part of the gathering. After his skiing experience, he had the best day of his life.

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The next day, the soldier tried the skeleton trial – the basic instructions were to “be a sack of potatoes and enjoy the ride” while the car traveled at 100 kilometers per hour. At the end of the race, he said he was wrong the day before because “this is now the best day of his life.” He added that the skeleton was easy because “all it takes is courage.”

It was important to experience winter events as athletes are expected to compete in at least one winter and in one traditional sport.

The Games will be held from February 8 to 16, 2025.

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