September 29, 2023, 16:47

Transformation, personal achievements and creating new goals: why medals are not the most important thing about Invictus Games

This year, the Ukrainian national team took part in the Invictus Games for the fourth time in history. The country was represented by 25 participants including military personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces, the National Guard, the National Police and volunteer battalions. At the competitions held in Dusseldorf, Ukraine won 34 medals: 12 gold, 14 silver and 8 bronze. However, in the context of such competitions, medals are not the most important thing, but above all this competition is about the personal achievements of the participants and their transformation.

This was talked about at the country’s main discussion platform BrainHub at Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform.

As Ilona Voloshyna, National Coordinator of the Invictus Games in Ukraine, noted at the beginning of the discussion, the Invictus Games are not a Paralympic-style competition, where the number of medals is the main thing.

“This is an adaptive sports event, which is actually intended for veterans, military personnel, to honor specific people, specific actions. And this event is about recognizing, respecting and appreciating them. And Prince Harry constantly emphasizes in his speeches and public appearances that this event is not exclusively for the sake of victories and medals, or personal records, finishing lines – it is actually about the transformation of the participants, about who they become after the Games, about their personal achievements, about finding and building new identities, new goals in life and meeting and connecting with others,” she emphasized.

At the same time, Ilona Voloshyna emphasized that currently there is a lot of news in the media with the message that this year Ukraine brought home the largest number of Invictus Games medals and awards in history. However, she believes that focusing on medals is not the right thing to do, as it can nullify the path and personal achievements of the participants.

“It’s certainly cool, and indeed the participants raised our flag 34 times on the podium. But, in my opinion, this is a false narrative that we should move away from, because it nullifies the personal achievements, personal growth of each of our participants, and generally nullifies the very principles and values of the project. Because we have participants to whom doctors gave 8-10% chances to live. And not only did they come, but showed an unreal result for themselves and thus became a motivation for someone who has a similar injury and wound. Therefore, yes, medals are a victory, they are an indicator of the efforts of the participants and coaches, but this is not the main thing,” explained the National Coordinator of the Invictus Games in Ukraine.

BrainHub is the country’s main discussion platform created by Media Center Ukraine – Ukrinform. It brings together experts from the state and civil society sectors. BrainHub hosts intellectual discussions around the issues of the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine. It’s the birthplace of the best ideas that will become the foundation for the road map of Ukraine’s reconstruction in all sectors: economy, infrastructure, education, agriculture, security, digital, etc.

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