What are the Invictus Games? Everything to know about Prince Harry’s ‘Olympics’ for military veterans

Prince Harry is making headlines for his inclusion in this year’s ESPY Awards after ESPN named him the recipient of the Pat Tillman Award for Service. He is set to be honored for his work with the Invictus Games, a competition he founded to shine a spotlight on the men and women who served in the armed forces.

Some are voicing complaints, including Pat Tillman’s mother, who said “I am shocked as to why they would select such a controversial and divisive individual to receive the award.

“There are recipients that are far more fitting. There are individuals working in the veteran community that are doing tremendous things to assist veterans. These individuals do not have the money, resources, connections, or privilege that Prince Harry has. I feel that those types of individuals should be recognized.”

What exactly are the Invictus Games, and what is Prince Harry’s involvement? Find out the details, including who funds the Games below.

What are the Invictus Games?

The Invictus Games is an international, multi-sport competition for wounded, injured, and sick service personnel, both serving and veterans. The 2025 event in Vancouver and Whistler, Canada will bring together over 500 competitors from over 20 nations to compete for medals in adaptive sports.

The Games in Canada will be the first ever with winter sports, set to take place in February. Since the event’s founding in 2014, the Games have been held in warmer climates and featured fair-weather or indoor sports. 

Date Host City
September 2014 London
May 2016 Orlando
September 2017 Toronto
October 2018 Sydney
April 2022 (Postponed 2020 Games) The Hague
September 2023 Düsseldorf
February 2025 Vancouver

Does Prince Harry own the Invictus Games?

The Invictus Games were founded by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry along with Sir Keith Mills, in partnership with the Ministry of Defense.

The Prince was inspired by a visit to the U.S. Warrior Games in 2013, a similar concept made up primarily of U.S. armed forces that included some international participants, as well. The Duke of Sussex served in the British Armed Forces for a decade, including two tours in Afghanistan. 

The biennial event also earned the support of Former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the first Games took place in London in 2014. More and more nations have joined the competition over time, helping it grow in popularity as it moves around the world. 

Who funds the Invictus Games?

Aside from donations to the Invictus Games Foundation, the Invictus Games also has had a slew of sponsors over the years, including Jaguar Land Rover, and Boeing. 

The first Invictus Games had £500,000 of funding from the Endeavour Fund, an arm of the Royal Foundation created by Prince Harry for veterans’ recovery. That money was matched by Chancellor George Osborne from Treasury funds.

Other financial support for the first Games came from the Royal Foundation. It’s unclear who funds the Games now other than sponsorships and donations, but the Royal Foundation and British Parliament have been involved in the past.

What sports are in the Invictus Games?

  • Alpine skiing*
  • Archery
  • Athletics
  • Cycling
  • Indoor rowing
  • Nordic skiing*
  • Powerlifting
  • Sitting volleyball
  • Skeleton*
  • Swimming
  • Table tennis
  • Wheelchair basketball
  • Wheelchair curling*
  • Wheelchair rugby

*new additions for the Winter Games

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