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Prince Harry Urges Canadians To Meet The Invictus Games 'Role Models'

"Listen to their stories ... and learn from them."

09/27/2017 14:37 EDT | Updated 09/27/2017 14:38 EDT

If you've been tuning into the 2017 Invictus Games, then you'll know how inspiring the athletes — servicemen and women who are ill or injured — are.

But for Prince Harry, who founded the Games in 2014, meeting the competitors is just as important as watching them compete.

Fred Thornhill / Reuters
Prince Harry poses with competitors from Ukraine at the CN Tower in Toronto, September 26, 2017. (REUTERS/Fred Thornhill)

On Tuesday evening, the fifth-in-line to the throne attended a reception at the CN Tower, and while he was there, urged Canadians and out-of-towners who were attending the sporting event in Toronto to actually talk to the athletes.

"I cannot stress this enough to everybody, to get out there, meet these guys, listen to their stories, and in many cases, learn from them," the 33-year-old said to guests at the reception.

WireImage
Prince Harry attends the Rowing at the Invictus Games Toronto 2017 on September 26, 2017 in Toronto. (Karwai Tang/WireImage)

"These are the role models I think we need in society," he continued, "and for younger kids and the younger generation, to look up to people like this and to know and to have a better understanding about what service and duty is all about.

These are the role models I think we need in society.

"And to represent your country once in your uniform, on the battlefield or back at home, then also post-injury or post-leaving the services, having that opportunity to serve your country once again be it on the Invictus sport field or even back at home in your own communities," he concluded.

Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation
Prince Harry meets up with an athlete as he attends the Cycling Criterium time trial during the Invictus Games 2017 on September 27, 2017 in Toronto. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Games Foundation)

Before he entered the CN Tower, Harry made sure he spent some time with his fans, chatting, shaking hands, and even taking selfies with a few lucky royal watchers who had been waiting for their chance to see the prince for more than an hour.

Steve Russell via Getty Images
Prince Harry greets spectators as he attends a reception at the CN Tower for the Invictus Games Foundation in Toronto. September 26, 2017. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

And aside from cheering on the athletes, engaging with his fans — and watching sporting matches with girlfriend Meghan Markle — Harry has been delivering passionate speeches about the importance of the Invictus Games and sports in general have in the lives of servicemen and women, both still on active duty and in civilian life.

Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation
Cyclists compete in the Cycling Criterium time trial during the Invictus Games 2017 at High Park on September 27, 2017 in Toronto. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images for the Invictus Games Foundation)

On Monday, the prince attended the annual Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research and discussed why the Games is good for current and former servicemen and women, both physically and mentally.

"I am passionate about the role which sport can play in the recovery of body and mind," he said.

"In my mind, there is no denying the impact that teamwork, competition and fun has on someone's well-being and outlook."

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