The crowds cheered. The house was full of competitors, families and friends. The excitement in the air was palpable as the hundreds of chairs on the arena floor of the Air Canada Centre were filled with competitors from 17 different nations. The Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces and the 48th Highlanders of Canada Pipes and Drums performed “Strong and Free” together, as part of the opening fanfare.
Cheers deafened the stadium with the Parade of the Nations — an uproarious crowd proud, wildly proud, of all the competitors from across the world. After everyone had settled, the 17 team captains carrying their country’s flag and along with representatives from each nation came on stage, and each captain received a medal and a handshake from Prince Harry.
Shortly after leaving the stage, five-time nominee of the Canadian Independent Music Awards Cœur de pirate took to the stage to perform.
After a few moments of fanfare on screen, the stage was set for the Canadian national anthem, performed by William Prince, from Manitoba’s Peguis First Nations, who was joined by the Toronto Children’s Chorus.
Sophie Grégoire Trudeau came on shortly afterward to welcome the nations to Canada, and thank them for their service, and led the way for the introduction of the Jaguar Land Rover awards.
The Land Rover Above and Beyond Award is awarded to an individual who has gone above and beyond not only what is expected as a competitor, but also as a teammate at the Invictus Games. The award is judged on sportsmanship, commitment to the Games and the demonstration of an inspiring example of the Invictus spirit. The award went to Mohammad Ess Akbari of Team Afghanistan. The entire team proudly joined him on stage.
Here are some of the highlights of the Closing Ceremony’s entertainment:
Bruce Springsteen & Bryan Adams
“I told you to be ready for the biggest competition yet, but I don’t think anyone was ready for team Georgia, who had never competed, to battle all the way to gold. I told you to be ready to see examples of determination in your own lives, but I don’t think any of us were expecting to see Mark Ormrod with a medal around his neck and capturing the imagination of the world.
“How amazing was it for Team UK, Denmark, USA and Romania to win a match with people they just met?
“I told you to be ready to see lives changed right before your eyes, but I didn’t tell you some of those would be your own. Let these Games inspire you to do something bigger in your family, in your community and across the world.
“Right now you’re at a high. You thought this was a summit you wouldn’t climb, but you have made it. Right here, shoulder to shoulder, you are Invictus.
“It’s going to be Game On down under. I’ll see you in Australia,” said Prince Harry to a cheering crowd.