Prince Harry is appearing on Netflix in a documentary that’s truly moving. Rising Phoenix, available now, tells the story of the origin of the Paralympic Games. The documentary was slated to coincide with the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo, but the games have since been delayed due to the health crisis.
Harry spoke to People magazine about the importance of the documentary.
“Rising Phoenix is a story that the world needs right now. We are confronted by the true power of the human spirit and the sheer strength of mind to overcome and achieve what most would deem impossible,” he said.
For Harry, the story is not only about the games themselves.
“It proves that sport is much more than a physical skill, it is purpose and drive, community and comradery, ambition, and self-worth,” he continued.
“These athletes are not only a credit to their countries and to their sport; they are also a true testament to human endeavor, and the epitome of resilience.”
In the documentary, Harry appears on a green couch discussing the importance of the Paralympic Games. He notes how “those that are referred to as disabled are not being encouraged or accepted in society at large.”
It’s part of what inspired Harry to found the Invictus Games, a Paralympic-style competitive event showing the unconquerable spirit of wounded, ill, and injured servicemen and women.
Referencing Paralympic Games founder Sir Ludwig Guttman, Harry added, “What he was doing back then is needed more now than it has ever been.”
Harry also touches on the importance of the 2012 Paralympic Games that were held in London.
“A lot of people, based on what they’d been told, thought it was going to be a failure and that they weren’t going to be able to sell tickets,” Harry revealed.
Those people were wrong, Harry pointed out.
“The stadiums were packed. The sport was incredible,” he said.
“And what they saw was undoubtedly better than the Olympics themselves.”
That, in itself, was inspiring to Harry.
“For me and for so many people out there, especially young kids, to see individuals like that go on and achieve what they have achieved,” Harry said.
“No amount of books that you read or teaching or class that you can have is going to give you the same inspiration as being able to watch something that you have been told is impossible.”
Harry says that the experience for those who attend the games as spectators is, in some respects, as transformative as it is for the athletes who participate. There is a lot to learn about the human spirit from these folks.
“There are thousands of seats there that could change those people’s lives because don’t forget, yes lives are being changed on the track but lives are also being changed in the stands as well,” he noted.
As for the Invictus Games, Harry has still been busy in his involvement despite this year’s events being postponed. Earlier this month, he hopped on a video call with competitors who have been taking part in the At Home Superhero Tri. He spoke with Jen Warren from the United Kingdom, Bruno Gruevremont from Canada, Mark Reidy from Australia, and team captain JJ Chalmers.
“I tried to book Captain America, but I managed to get Captain Wales instead,” JJ joked.
“The banter certainly hasn’t improved in the last few months, that’s for sure,” Harry replied in return.
It’s clear that despite his critics’ accusations, Harry’s commitment to the causes he cares about is as strong as ever. A spokesperson for the Duke of Sussex says he’s proud to have been involved in the documentary:
“The Duke is proud to have been one of the people [who] contributed to this film, which is a unique and powerful documentary that hopes to change the way people view disability — and tell the incredible story of the Paralympics.”