Let the games begin! Prince Harry was in fine form during the opening ceremonies for the 2016 Invictus Games on Sunday (May 8). Taking to the podium, the proud prince delivered an impassioned speech in front of famous faces like First Lady Michelle Obama, actor Morgan Freeman and the games' honorary chairman George W. The weeklong competition kicked off at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Champion stadium in Orlando.
"I can't tell you how proud I am to have the second Invictus Games open in America," Prince Harry told the crowd. "I am a long way from London tonight, but when I look out I see so many familiar faces, servicemen and women, their friends and their families, and all the people who got them here. I feel like I'm home."
"I served alongside soldiers from all over the world," Harry, 31, added. "I saw the sacrifices you and your families made to serve your nations. I learned about the importance of team work and camaraderie in the way that only military service can teach you."
The two-hour celebration began with the athletes, dressed in their nation's colours, marching into the stadium to a standing ovation from the audience. The ceremony also included a military flyover and a fireworks display, while James Blunt and British singer Laura Wright were among those who performed on the night.
Michelle took to the stage towards the end of the ceremony. "It is truly an honour to be here tonight to help kick off this year's Invictus Games," she said. "I want to, of course, start by thanking Prince Harry for his outstanding leadership and for bringing the Invictus Games here to Orlando. He is truly our Prince Charming. He should be proud of his work."
Prince Harry created The Invictus Games after being inspired to help wounded and sick military personnel and their families following his two tours of duty of Afghanistan. The inaugural Invictus Games were held in 2014 in London. The games will move to Toronto in 2017.
Nearly 500 athletes from 14 different countries will compete in this year's competition, beginning on Monday. "Over the next four days, you will see things that in years past just wouldn't have been possible," Harry promised. "You will see people who by rights should have died on the battlefield - but instead they are going for gold on the track or in the pool. You will be inspired, you will be moved, and I promise you will be entertained."
Addressing the competitors, he added: "You are role models that any parent would be proud to have their children follow.
"You've made me a better person. You are about to inspire the world and I'm proud to call you my friends. So, let's put on a hell of a show in memory of all of our fallen comrades who didn't make it back. We are Invictus!"