The Invictus Games have given Canadians a greater understanding of the issues facing disabled and sick veterans, according to new public opinion research.
Maru/Matchbox research released on Wednesday morning showed that support for the Canadian Armed Forces increased from 51 per cent before the 2017 Games, which were held in Toronto in September and broadcast exclusively on TSN, to 64 per cent after them.
“With the Games still fresh in our memory and with the marking of Remembrance Day this weekend, this research demonstrates a fundamental shift in support for Canadian veterans and servicemen and women,” said Michael Burns, the CEO of the Toronto Games organizing committee in a statement. “Remembrance Day is often associated with veterans of long-past wars and conflicts, but this research shows increased support for the ‘modern-day’ veteran, and those currently serving.”
The Toronto Invictus Games were the third installment of the event, created in 2014 by Prince Harry. Wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel, both serving and veterans, take part in sports to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of all those who serve their country.
“The Invictus Games are an inspirational event and a positive step in the recovery of our wounded warriors” said Team Canada competitor Joel Guidon. “I was able to experience the transformative power of sport as a competitor for Team Canada in 2016 and also be a mentor teammate in 2017. The support from the spectators was incredible and meant a lot to the teams from all nations. To receive applause when we got off the bus at the venues and hearing thousands of voices cheering us on at every event will stay with me forever.”
Among those surveyed, 96 per cent view post-traumatic stress injury as a significant issue for soldiers and veterans, while two-thirds of Canadians strongly agree that they support the CAF and wounded soldiers. The research also found that Canadians now have a greater understanding of the challenges faced by veterans returning from service, with those who “strongly agree” more than doubling to 34 per cent since July 2017.
“I’m very proud that Toronto hosted these resoundingly successful Invictus Games,” said Toronto mayor John Tory. “The Games are an innovative way to recognize the sacrifices of those who serve their countries and demonstrate our appreciation. I know that the spirit and abilities of the competitors made a huge impression on residents and visitors of all ages.”
The 2018 edition of the Invictus Games will be held in Sydney, Australia.