To launch its 51st season, the iconic and long-standing CTV show, W5, featured a special on the Invictus Games titled “Unconquered” on Sept. 23.
The one-hour special, hosted by news anchor Kevin Newman, took audiences on the very personal journey of several ill and injured soldiers that led them to compete in the Invictus Games Toronto 2017.
“I wanted Canadians to know these men and women, as well as I've come to know them. So, this was a great opportunity to spend an hour to do that in a substantial way,” said Newman, who often volunteers his time with the military community.
Work on the production of the “Unconquered” special started several months before when the W5 team travelled to Afghanistan for the lighting of the Invictus Games’ Spirit Flame with MCpl (ret’d) Jody Mitic in early August. It was an event that Newman was unable to attend and he was “hugely disappointed" about missing out.
“A, Jody [Mitic] is a friend of mine and B, I had reported from Afghanistan for a while myself and wanted to see it again,” remembered Newman.
He did, however, accompany Team Canada member Cpl. (ret’d) Chris Klodt to Germany for when the Spirit Flame was brought to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Centre.
Unconquered not only captures the journey of the Spirit Flame but also details the heroic tales of Mitic, Klodt and many of the other Team Canada competitors.
Despite spending so much time around military members, and the military community as a whole, Newman says the special also served as an opportunity for him to gain a better understanding of what ill and injured soldiers go through, such as how recent the experience is for many of them.
“In most cases, it's been ten years since the injury, and in another way, it's like no time at all,” noted Newman.
He also learned how many of these soldiers are missing several chapters from their journey to recovery since many were sedated after their injuries and have no memory of how they travelled to Canada.
“Some people wanted to know what they were missing. Others, like Chris, didn’t think he had any interest until he met some of the nurses and some of the doctors who had treated him in Germany and heard how pleased they were at the level of his recovery. I think it fills in gaps for him, and I know for Jody it did as well, which I’m hoping was part of their healing process as well because there was no longer this gap of memory from when they were in peril,” commented Newman.
Newman hopes that by watching the W5 premiere, Canadians can gain better insight on what these men and women have gone through and accomplished while seeing them just as that: men and women.
“I’m hoping that by the end of it, their hearts and their souls and their determination, in all of the things that they still have going for them, are what people recognize. So, what they lost, in some ways, becomes secondary, in the same way, I think it has for many of these Invictus competitors,” said Newman.
Watch the W5 “Unconquered” here: