posted by Glenn Barton

From Shakespeare to the Sunshine State

What a difference two weeks can make.  A fortnight ago I was riding high on the cultural wave that celebrated "Shakespeare Lives" for the BBC.  At Sparkly Light, we edited VTs, produced and then directed two hours of live coverage from the Globe Theatre on the Southbank.  Now I find myself on the south-eastern edge of the United States of America, preparing to witness yet another celebration.  This one doesn't hold the cultural gravitas that Shakespeare does but it's significance and impact is equally as strong.

In 24 hours time, I will be editing the opening ceremony of the 2016 Invictus Games, from Orlando Florida.  And what a privilege it has already been to spend time at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex as it gears up for a spectacular four days of competitive action carried out by teams of wounded armed forces personnel from 14 countries.  If the wheelchair basketball prelims is anything to go by, it's going to be intensely competitive - especially the wheelchair rugby where the word 'brutal' is not an understatement.  But there's no doubting the sense of optimism and hope that hangs in the air.

Walking past athletes with missing limbs, or those with less obvious wounds - PTSD being the focus of this year's Games - one can't help but admire them.  They are the example of what the human spirit can overcome.  Each and every athlete competing in this year's Games has shown the ability to succeed, to find focus, and be able to move on from whatever terrifying incident must have occurred in their life.  Every day here is an inspiration.

When I look back at my career, I count myself as very lucky to have been involved in so many events where I have had time to meet with, or learn about, the best of the human race.  

This time last year I was filming in Turkey at the Gallipoli peninsula.  I was moved by the horrendous situation that the men must have endured.  A year before that, I was sharing time with D-Day veterans in Normandy trying to imagine what landing on Gold Beach must have been like.  A few years prior, I was in San Carlos on the Falkland Islands when a very similar feeling struck me.  And now here, that feeling has hit me again.  A sense of awe at what people are able to live through - before turning up, ready to continue the fight.

With the anticipation and excitement building here in Orlando, I can't wait for the competition to get started.  And I can't wait to applaud what every one of these athletes has already achieved.  I salute them all.

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