Canadian Bruce Matthews won a silver medal in the men’s IF4 shot put event on the first day of athletics competition at York Lions Stadium. On Toronto’s hottest day of the year, the first-time Invictus Games competitor raised his arms in celebration after achieving a personal best of 13.8 metres.
The Innisfil, Ontario, native was a crowd favourite throughout the competition. He is supported at the Games by his wife and her family, his mother, and a cousin who flew in from the United Kingdom.
Bruce thanks his family for encouraging him to try out for Team Canada. “My mom — she knew all about the Invictus Games –— she pushed me to apply. I applied, not thinking I’d get selected,” explained the retired corporal, who felt like he wasn’t doing anything positive before training for the Invictus Games.
Bruce served more than 18 years in the Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force. In the past 12 years, he’s had 13 major surgeries and struggles with post-traumatic stress injury. While his training can be painful, he thinks the results are worth the pain.
“The journey has been amazing. The person I was a year ago is no longer the person that’s here in front of you today. I’m completely different,” said Bruce after receiving his Invictus Games medal. “I sit back and analyze it, and I’ve noticed how much I’ve changed — it’s incredible.”
As a competitor, the Invictus Games have given Bruce the chance to connect with people from around the world. “No matter if there is a language barrier, you see that they have similar problems, a similar life,” he said. “You realize that they’re trying to take control of their lives as well. It’s been amazing to get to know them.”
Bruce is also competing in discus, powerlifting and two indoor rowing events at these Games.