The royal surprised winners by giving out the medals – and a kiss each!

By Simon Perry
Updated May 09, 2016 02:50 PM
Advertisement
Chris Jackson/Getty

Invictus Games founder Prince Harry was front and center during the first full day of competition in Orlando on Monday.

The royal surprised winners by giving out the medals – and a kiss each – after the women’s time trials at the cycling events.

Bronze medalist Ana Manciaz from Team USA did a little dance when she stepped up to the podium at the Paralympic-style event. And it didn’t go unnoticed by the prince.

“Prince Harry said, ‘You were looking for an excuse to dance,’ ” she told PEOPLE after the ceremony on Monday.

The retired U.S. Army Sergeant, who lost her right leg in 2014, plans to take part in several events, including swimming, archery and track.

“He said congratulations and I thanked him for putting the Games on,” Manciaz, 36, shared.

Gold medalist for Team USA, Jennifer Schuble, added, “Normally you get gorgeous female models giving out medals at traditional cycling events. To have Prince Harry was absolutely unbelievable – ten times better for a women than getting a model!”

Veteran Schuble , who suffered a traumatic brain injury during hand-to-hand combat training in 1999, and also suffers from MS, told PEOPLE, “He is an amazing man for what he’s doing for invisible injuries. In the U.S., there is more attention to the Invictus Games than the Paralympics – and it’s because of Prince Harry.”

Meet the Inspiring Invictus Games War Veterans on Team USA

Earlier, Harry met more of the team during a huddle close to the finish line. As he hugged old friends, he got to make new ones.

“He definitely likes to get around everyone,” former U.S Marine Jenae Piper, who won two gold medals for Team USA in recumbent cycling, told PEOPLE. “He’s not selective. He’s easy to talk to, very upbeat and full of positive energy.

The royal also lent his support to British power lifter Michael Yule – and he seemed to be a good luck charm.

Yule won for his 418.9lb/190kg lift and received the gold medal from the prince. As he made the lift, Harry called out, “Come on, Micky!”

“I could feel the crowd straight from the off. I could feel it on my back. I think that’s why that last lift went up so fast,” Yule told PEOPLE of the support.

Harry clasped his hand and drew him close for an embrace at the medal ceremony. Yule told PEOPLE that Harry told him he had to win it.

“I’ve made a video that’s going out tonight, and that put a lot of pressure on me, as Harry has seen it. He said ‘You needed to get that!’ ”

“If I could have picked anyone to give me the medal it would have been him,” he continued. “He’s a top lad. He has been such a supporter and the Games would not be what they are without him. You see him in the back helping everybody – the same for President Bush who came by earlier. Harry knows where we’re coming from and that we don’t want sympathy. To us he is a lad, and a prince second.

“He puts a lot of pressure on people in high places to make sure the boys are looked after.”

The royal opened up to PEOPLE about the event in last week’s cover story, revealing how his own military experience spurred him to create Invictus as a way of supporting his fellow service members.

“You turn up and you think you’re invincible in a super-duper aircraft, but you’re helpless,” he told PEOPLE. “Then I come back and I say, ‘How can I use my name and that spotlight to the best effect?’ ” Creating the Games, he notes, was “almost like a cure for that pain I had back then.”