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Masters of their fate

Team Canada’s training camp in Kingston, Ont., set the roster for the Invictus Games in Toronto this September

Story and photography by Stephen J. Thorne

Canada announced its Invictus Games team on June 15, while its second week-long training camp wrapped up in Kingston, Ont. The photos below were taken there as the athletes trained.

Ninety veterans and serving members with physical or mental-health injuries, wounds or illnesses contracted while with the Canadian Armed Forces were chosen. Sponsored by the military’s Soldier On program, the team is supported by 11 coaches, two athletic trainers, a medical team, a manager and staff. They will compete in 12 adaptive sports at the Games slated for Toronto in September, facing some 500 athletes from 17 allied countries at this, the third Invictus Games.

The Games were created by Prince Harry in 2014 as a means to honour and help the wounded through the power of rehabilitative sports. “Invictus” means “unconquered,” and the spirit of the competition is captured in the words of the 1875 poem “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley: “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

Invictus team members do chin-up exercises.

Retired corporal, powerlifter and archer Melissa Smith.

Retired corporal Gorden Boivin works out on a rowing machine.

Retired sergeant and wheelchair basketball player Steve Daniel.

A trainer tapes up an athlete’s wrist.

Wheelchair rugby coach Mike Whitehead runs the team through some drills.

Retired sergeant and wheelchair rugby player Kevin Nanson.

Sergeant Lorne Ford eyes the competition during a wheelchair rugby scrimmage.

A rugby wheelchair showing signs of tough play.

Road cycling team members (from left) Tracy Howlett-Clooney, Harry Reddin,
Peter Lawless and Michel Leblanc take a short break.

Cyclist Harry Reddin offers roadside assistance to teammate Julie Marcotte.

Retired sergeant and golfer Étienne Aubé.

Former search-and-rescue technician and golfer Nic Meunier.

Retired corporal and swimmer Rob Smith is also training for track and field.

Officer Cadet Geoff De Melo and his service dog, Bob. De Melo is training in cycling and swimming.

Archery is one of the Invictus Games’ fully integrated sports, played by
able-bodied competitors as well as competitors of varying physical disabilities.

Archers retrieve their arrows under the watchful eye of their coach.

 Athletics competitors compete against others with similar
levels of ability, according to their functional classification.

Royal Canadian Engineer Major Blaise Lapointe practices his start.
He also competes in cycling and wheelchair basketball.

To view more images and read other instalments in Stephen J. Thorne’s Portrait of Inspiration project for Legion Magazine, please click below.


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