Invictus Games organizers and athletes thanked the Toronto Police Service and Ontario Provincial Police for a gold medal performance at the adaptive sport competition that drew injured, ill and wounded military veterans from around the world to compete.
These Games were a highlight for Canada in 2017, with more than 40 million people from 111 nations watching over 500 athletes participate in 12 sports to sell-out crowds in September.
“These Games were unprecedented and we simply could not have done it without the support of the Toronto Police Service and the OPP,” said Invictus 2017 CEO Michael Burns. “From the very beginning you bought into why these Games are important and you helped us give a grateful nation an opportunity to thank these heroes and our military families.”
Burns said the Games were made spectacular by the performances of the athletes and support of the city, the grandeur of Prince Harry, Barack Obama in attendance as well as performances by Bryan Adams and Bruce Springsteen.
But a highlight for athletes was also the escorts provided by the TPS and OPP motorcycle officers who nimbly guided competitors throughout the city safely.
“The motor escorts that took place the moment our Team Canada members arrived as well as teams from 16 other nations, escorts that took them to the events, to all the competition that simple gesture, of kindness, of friendship and gratitude is one we will never, ever forget,” he said. “Like Prince Harry said, the Toronto Police and OPP treated these men and women like the rock stars they are.”
He said the Games brought awareness of post-traumatic stress injury and raised the level of support for veterans in Toronto and beyond.
“Most importantly, we really raised the bar of awareness of the unique challenges are military families face,” Burns said.
Team Canada athletes Kelly Scanlan, Phil Badanai, and Tyron Lincoln presented framed official gold, silver and bronze Invictus medals to the Toronto Police Service, Traffic Services and the Ontario Provincial Police.
Officers, including from Toronto Police Service Parking Enforcement who helped clear the way for the events, were also given Invictus challenge coins by OPP Superintendent Alison Jevons, Chief Mark Saunders and Burns to thank them for their work.
Chief Mark Saunders said the Games were a special for the city and the Service.
“The Invictus Games was a great opportunity for the city of Toronto because once again this great city was placed on a world platform and we shone like always,” said Saunders, who recognized his officers and the partnership with the OPP. “The Toronto Police Service did a fantastic job but I think the more important piece is the fact that in order for us to be successful was our ability to collaborate.”
He pointed out that Service members relished the opportunity.
“All of our members, especially the Motor Squad teams, executed their responsibilities professionally, with the utmost respect for the athletes and their fans. On behalf of all members of the Service who were involved in the Games, I happily accept this acknowledgement and I am grateful to Mr. Burns and his colleagues for taking the time to recognize our efforts,” Chief Saunders said.
OPP Commisioner Vince Hawkes said the Games brought a lot of pride to officers.
“Our organization was both privileged and proud to work with all of our partners to support the safe transit of participants and attendees to the various host venues for the 2017 Invictus Games in Toronto,” said Commissioner Hawkes. “To be associated with this event is an honour and will be among the great personal and career memories for our members.”