Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Honours the optimistic generation
L to R: New South Wales Governor, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC, (Ret’d); Commander Joint Capabilities Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald, AM, CSC; President of the Returned and Services League - New South Wales, James Brown; and Indigenous Elder, Uncle Roy Mundine, OAM; hold up an Invictus Games flag at the Sydney Academy of Sports and Recreation, Narrabeen. © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence. Photographer SGT W. Guthrie. © Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence
Training for the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 sailing team was held at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club in Newport, New South Wales, between May 4th and 6th, 2018.
The Australian Invictus Games 2018 team converged on the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation, Narrabeen, in mid-August for the final staging camp before the Games. The teams had their final briefings, medical assessments and were given their coveted green and gold uniforms.
New South Wales Governor, His Excellency General, the Honourable David Hurley AC, DSC (Ret’d), Commander Joint Capabilities Air Vice Marshal Warren McDonald AM, CSC, President RSL - NSW James Brown and Indigenous Elder Uncle Roy Mundine, OAM, were among invited guests who presented the 72 competitors with their uniforms.
The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for serving and former serving military personnel. The Games use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and ill servicemen and women.
The Founder of the Invictus Games, His Royal Highness The Duke of Sussex and Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex landed in Sydney on Monday morning, commencing a week of engagements where they have delighted our nation.
Across a sixteen day tour of Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Tonga, Their Royal Highnesses' programme will focus on youth leadership, and projects being undertaken by young people to address the social, economic, and environmental challenges of our region. The Duke is particularly keen to highlight these youth-led initiatives in his new role as Commonwealth Youth Ambassador, and to shine a light on the work and aspirations of young people across the Commonwealth.
The visit will also concentrate on environmental and conservation efforts, from engaging the local community in forest protection schemes in Colo-i-Suva, to the promotion of sustainable tourism on Fraser Island. The Duke and Duchess will dedicate a number of projects to The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy in each country - in Australia Queensland’s Fraser Island, or K’gari as it is known by the Traditional Owners the Butchulla people, is where Their Royal Highnesses' will unveil a plaque for the dedication of the Forests of K’gari to the QCC. Traditional Owners from Bulburin National Park, the second QCC dedication site in Queensland, will also be present. Fraser Island's satinay trees, known for their hardiness in water, were used to build the London docks in the 1930s.
A major focus for Their Royal Highnesses on their first joint visit to our region is the Invictus Games Sydney 2018.
The Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), and Lady Cosgrove, welcomed Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Sussex as they officially commenced their visit to Australia on Tuesday and presented them with their first baby gifts. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced on Monday that The Duchess of Sussex is expecting a baby in the U.K. Spring of 2019. Photo © 2018, Commonwealth of Australia
Yesterday The Hon. Darren Chester, the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Defence Personnel welcomed competitors and their family and friends to Sydney.
“On behalf of the Australian Government, I am honoured to welcome all competitors and their supporters to Sydney and I wish them the best of luck in the coming events,” Mr Chester said.
“Australia is proud to be hosting the fourth Invictus Games and I urge all Australians to tune in to watch the events over the next week."
Australian Army veteran Jeff Wright, who is competing in his second Invictus Games, was the flag bearer for Team Australia at the opening ceremony. He said he is looking forward to leading out the team.
“It’s an honour to lead out my teammates in front their friends and families, and to have the support of the Australian public for the Games,” Mr Wright said.
“Being a member of the Invictus Games team is a rewarding and fulfilling experience and a personal achievement for me to be able to compete for the second Games in a row.”
Mr Chester said the Games were also a great platform for generating a wider understanding of the sacrifices made by those who serve their country.
“The personal struggles each and every competitor and their families have overcome to make their national teams is a source of inspiration for us all,” Mr Chester said.
“The Games are more than a sporting event – they capture hearts, challenge perceptions and change lives.
“We are grateful for their service and are inspired by the unconquered spirit of these current and former serving members who have overcome so much to represent their countries on the world stage.”
The fourth Invictus Games is being held from 20-27 October 2018 in Sydney celebrating 500 competitors from 18 nations in sports that range from Archery to Wheelchair Tennis. Today the mens and women's Cycling and Sailing events take place, the cyclists on a picturesque Royal Botanic Garden course, the Sailing on Sydney Harbour. The CYCA, RSYS, RPAYC and RANSA have been working together with Invictus Games Sydney 2018 to ensure the success of the sailing regatta.
Pittwater's Spithill siblings James, Tom and Katie have been spending the past few days with what they describe as 'inspirational people', and everyone is just blown away and humbled, and feeling pretty honoured to be involved in this event. Today they will be joined by a host of supporting people from the above clubs who all have a great passion for people and for sailing.
Today 11 teams of four from 10 nations are competing in the Elliott Class. A World Sailing accredited instructor who will be on board at all times and act as a fifth member of the crew, there to observe and provide advice on safety issues if needed. A Hansa 303 division with 5 sailors from 4 nations competing in the Hansa 303. Competition in each event will consist of two stages.
The Cycling and Sailing are free events with people able to watch the action from the Sydney Harbour foreshore near the Royal Botanic Garden. If you can't get there you can cheer ALL the athletes on by tuning into the ABC's iView platform. The races commence at 11 a.m. The Invictus Games Down Under run October 20 - 27.
Boats will contest up to three windward/leeward races. Each race will include a minimum of two and a maximum of three laps of the course, depending on the wind conditions. The six Elliott 7 boats and the five Hansa 303s' with the lowest cumulative total at the end of the qualifying stage will advance to the medal race for their respective boat class. Held after the two stages, the medal race will be conducted on the same course with gold, silver and bronze medals awarded to the top three finishers.
Of course, to all in Australia, and around the world, every Invictus athlete in every sport is already a champion, all winners, all inspirational.
The breeze is forecast to be southerly 15-20kts, hopefully softening, as did the fanfare that played as a great sky Prelude prior to that wonderful address given by H.R.H. Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, KCVO, ADC.
Address Given by The Duke of Sussex, at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 Opening Ceremony
Hello Sydney. Hello Australia. And hello Invictus.
On this day in 1973, my grandmother, The Queen stood in front of this Opera House and declared it open.
Forty-five years later, to the day, it is my honour to be standing in front of this iconic symbol of Australia’s place in the modern world at the start of the fourth Invictus Games.
I’m sure you’ll all agree that these Games have never had a more beautiful backdrop.
Many of you will have heard me explain the genesis of these Games before.
From my life-changing flight back from the battlefields of Afghanistan, to the example of America’s warrior games, Invictus was inspired by the experiences I had alongside our servicemen and women from many nations.
These Games were created for our men and women in uniform; designed around their talents and their needs; and built not just for them, but also for the friends and families that have supported their recoveries and had their lives changed forever.
Over the last four years though, the Invictus Games have become about much more than the thousands of competitors who have taken part.
Invictus has become about the example of service and dedication our competitors have provided to the world.
Our Invictus family has turned these games into a symbol of strength, honour and optimism for a new generation.
In a few weeks time we will honour the memory of the generation that fought the First World War - including the sacrifices of the ANZACS whose ethos and heroic actions helped forge the character of this great country.
So much has rightly been made of my grandmother’s generation who endured the horrors of the Second World War and then rebuilt a world order around freedom and tolerance.
The legendary bravery and resilience of the Aussie digger - to this day - commands respect and admiration.
And the efforts of your soldiers to defend this nation and support your allies in theatres from the Kokoda Trail, Vietnam and Korea, to Iraq and Afghanistan, have been outstanding.
The values that define this country’s services - courage, endurance, mateship, sacrifice - are an example to all.
But if we’re being honest, we know that in many nations, the place of our men and women in uniform became too often undervalued in the decades after the Second World War.
The sacrifice and character of our troops never changed, but society’s recognition of them too often wavered.
But that has changed.
A new generation - the Invictus generation - is defining what it means to serve. And we are all taking notice.
The Invictus generation has chosen to serve their countries in conflicts that are complex and dangerous and far too often this dedication goes unrecognised.
They have reminded us all what selfless duty really looks like.
With the help of medical science, the Invictus generation has not only survived injuries that in past conflicts would have been fatal, but has also chosen to fight back from the darkest of places to be here tonight. They have shown us the true meaning of resilience.
When they have been open about their hidden emotional and mental wounds, the Invictus generation has shown us that in today’s world being tough means being honest about how we feel - both inside and out.
When they have taken to the tracks, fields and pools in London, Orlando, and Toronto, the Invictus generation has exemplified sportsmanship, bravery and world class athleticism.
They have shown us all that the most difficult challenges can be overcome.
When the families and friends of our competitors have lifted them up, overseen their recoveries, and cheered them across the finish lines, the Invictus generation has redefined what shared sacrifice means.
They have reminded us all of our duties to each other - to support our mates, to serve our communities, and to respect those closest to us and those whose stories we will never know.
And when all of us have watched the Games on TV or in the stands, we too have become part of the Invictus generation.
We have learned to reject pessimism and cynicism. We have allowed ourselves to be inspired. And we have shared in moments of hope, joy, and triumph that have served as an antidote to the narrative of division and despair we too often allow to define our era.
So when all of you compete over the next week, remember that you do so, not just for yourselves; not just for your families; not just for your nations.
You are competing with different flags on your chest, but you are competing together for one Invictus generation.
You are the unconquered generation. You are the optimistic generation. You are the new generation of service and you are the role models to us all.
And you are going to put on one hell of a show over the next week.
Now before I close, I want to say something directly to our hosts, the people of Australia.
First of all, thank you for the welcome you have given Meghan and I over the last few days.
I have been so proud to be able to introduce my wife to you and we have been so happy to be able to celebrate the personal joy of our newest addition with you all.
But now I have a mission for all of you Aussies. And it’s not how many shrimps you can put on the barbie!
Our competitors have made it to these games, most of them travelling from many thousands of miles away.
It’s your job to cheer them on and share their stories. It’s your privilege to watch in the stands or with your friends and families around the television. It’s your responsibility to make sure your children know how amazing these guys and girls really are.
Be inspired. Get excited. Allow the example of service and determination you will see, to change something big or small in your own lives.
Show the world what "Game On, Down Under" really means.
Australia - let’s show the world how it’s done.
The Duke of Sussex's Speech | Invictus Games | Sydney
Published by The Royal Family, October 20th, 2018