Team Australia’s curtain call at Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023
The curtain has officially fallen on Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023 with a spectacular Closing Ceremony at the Merkur Spiel-Arena celebrating an action-packed seven days of sport and solidarity amongst the participants.
Competitors from 21 nations came together one final time to be admired for their courage, determination and fighting spirit, with Verity Sanchez leading Team Australia onto the stage, holding the Aussie flag high.
Verity Sanchez was the flag bearer for Team Australia at the Closing Ceremony of Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023.
To recognise the integral and indispensable role that family and friends play in the rehabilitation and recovery of competitors, two members from each nation’s family and friends contingent were selected to join their international cohorts on the stage.
Camille Wood, friend of competitor Justin Donnelly and Ryan Bridgen, husband of competitor Erin Bridgen had the honour of representing Team Australia.
Families and friends from each of the nations gather on stage at the Closing Ceremony of Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023.
Invictus Games Foundation Patron, Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, once again acknowledged the incredible performances of strength, courage and resilience to rapturous applause. He said, “We may have provided the platform, but you provided the magic. And don’t you ever forget that.”
We’ve all witnessed the true impact sport has had on your recovery and on your post traumatic growth. But you will never truly know the impact your actions this week have had on millions of people around the world.”
“You have opened people’s hearts, through your vulnerability, through your resilience and through your sheer abilities. You have shown us that joy can emerge from struggle, and for that we are eternally grateful,” he said.
Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex and Invictus Games Foundation Patron, at the Closing Ceremony of Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023.
Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rita Ora closed the show, belting out tunes from her recent album ‘You & I’, and bringing the crowd to their feet.
Rita Ora performs at the Closing Ceremony of Invictus Games Dusseldorf 2023.
Event organisers heralded the Games a success proclaiming they delivered on their mission to provide a ‘Home for Respect’ to the veterans, their families and friends. Over the course of the seven-day competition, the were supported by more than 140,000 spectators, 1,100 volunteers.
“The Invictus Games 2023 in Düsseldorf was an unforgettable celebration of joy, determination and optimism,” said Brigadier General Alfred Marstaller, project manager for the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023.
“The competitors impressively showed us all how important the power of sport is for successful rehabilitation. Here in Düsseldorf, we have experienced how strong and indispensable the support of families and friends can be,” he said.
The seventh Invictus Games will take place in Vancouver and Whistler in 2025 and for the first time in the history of the Games will feature a winter sports edition. As the Invictus Games flag was officially passed from Germany to Canada and the 500-day countdown started, Team Canada competitor Erika Moore spoke of her gratitude, pride and new sense of purpose.
“The support we have received from our families, friends and the Canadian community has been overwhelming. We look forward to showcasing our country’s hospitality, resilience and inclusivity on a global stage at the 2025 Invictus Games in Vancouver and Whistler,” she said.
With the Aussies now headed home and another Invictus Games chapter closed, the work does not stop for Invictus Australia (IA) who work year-round to provide support and sporting opportunities to veterans and their families.
IA’s Director of Teams, Pathway and Alumni, Adam Pine, said: “It’s been great here in Dusseldorf to have some success. The team is really supported and felt like rock stars, it’s fantastic, it’s a special time.
“When we go home, Invictus Australia now turns our focus to what we do between the Games. We don’t want sport to stop. We want them to reintegrate and look for future opportunities, to get our team and our country moving through sport,” he said.
To watch exclusive behind the scenes content from Team Australia’s journey make sure you are following us on all social channels.
About Invictus Australia: Invictus Australia encourages veterans and their families to connect and engage with their communities through sport. Whether participating or volunteering at grassroots level, to competing internationally at an Invictus or Warrior Games, Invictus Australia leverages the power of sport to proactively foster good health and aid in recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration. Invictus Australia promotes the physical, social and emotional benefits of sport for all, and shine a light on the unique needs of younger veterans, particularly the challenges associated with transitioning from military to civilian life.
About the Invictus Games: The 2023 Invictus Games takes place from the 9th – 16th September in Dusseldorf, Germany. Invictus Australia, in partnership with the Australian Defence Force, are supporting 31 former and current serving competitors as part of Team Australia. The Invictus Games is an international adaptive sporting event for serving and former serving military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service. Prince Harry, The Duke of Sussex, is the Patron of the Invictus Games. The Games uses the healing power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and celebrate the crucial role played by family and friends.