In 2013, Prince Harry traveled to Colorado to attend the Warrior Games – a competitive sporting event for wounded service men and women from all branches of the U.S. military.
Inspired by what he saw and experienced, he returned to the UK and began planning the inaugural 2014 Invictus Games in London, the first international sporting event for wounded military personnel.
Invictus means unconquered. The Invictus Games harness the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and build understanding and respect for those who serve their countries and their insatiable drive to overcome.
“The 2014 Games were just the beginning of the Invictus story,” Prince Harry said. “The competitors showed grit, determination and humor – an absolute refusal to be beaten or be defined by their injuries.”
The second Invictus Games will be held May 8-12 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. Coca-Cola will be an official supporter of the competition, where 500 military athletes from 14 countries will go head to head in 10 sporting events.
Coca-Cola has supported U.S. troops since 1941, when during World War II, then-President Robert Woodruff committed “to see that every man in uniform gets a bottle of Coca-Cola for five cents, wherever he is and whatever it costs the company.” The Coca-Cola system today provides approximately 2.4 million beverage servings per day to active-duty armed forces members, reservists, retirees and their families.
“This legacy of support, combined with the company’s longstanding partnerships with global sporting organizations, made Coca-Cola the perfect fit for the Invictus Games Orlando 2016,” said Peter Franklin, group director, worldwide sports, Coca-Cola.
Franklin said Coke's support of the Invictus Games is a natural extension of its long association with multisport events like the Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Special Olympics. “We support the core values of the Invictus mission and are proud to play a supporting role in helping make the Invictus Games a memorable experience for athletes, fans and communities all around the world," he said. "Those fortunate enough to attend the Games will see how the power of sport can inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country as well as their families and caregivers.”
Ken Fisher, chairman of the organizing committee for the Invictus Games, added, “The Invictus Games London 2014 were an extraordinary platform for wounded servicemen and women from nations who have sacrificed together to showcase what the human spirit is capable of regardless of injury. The 2016 Games will build on the momentum with more competitors participating in more sports.”
The 2017 Games will take place in Toronto. “We hope the Invictus Games will continue to raise awareness of the challenges facing those suffering from the wounds of war, both visible and invisible,” Fisher said. “We also hope the Games will continue to honor the service and sacrifice of the entire military family.”
Franklin said he sees potential for a long-term partnership, comparing the Invictus Games to Special Olympics, which Coke has supported since its inception in 1968. "We’ve seen Special Olympics build from a small grassroots organization into a global movement of more than 5 million athletes,” he said. “We continuously see the positive impact sports can have in improving people’s lives… and that’s what we see in Invictus Games.”
He concluded, “Partnering with Invictus Games Orlando 2016 presents a great opportunity for us as a brand – and for our consumers – to give back to those who have given so much.”
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