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Team Australia touches down in Florida ahead of Warrior Games

Team Australia, a contingent of 30 current and former Australian Defence Force personnel, has officially touched down in Orland Florida, ready to compete at the 2024 DoD Warrior Games.  

After meeting just a couple of months ago, the team has already formed strong relationships, bonded by the unique experience.  

“The feeling in the team is amazing. We can’t wait for Orlando. Strength through sport!” – Captain Doug Griffiths.  

The team’s travel was preceded by their Pre-Departure Camp, a final chance to cement bonds and build camaraderie before they compete alongside each other in Florida.  

WARRIOR GAMES TEAM CAPTAINS ANNOUNCED

During last weekend’s pre-departure camp, Chef de Mission Brigadier Philip Winter named Sergeant Emily Lahey and Cooper Blackwood as Co- Captains for this year’s team. Both natural leaders dedicated to supporting the competitors, Emily and Cooper proudly accepted this role.  

Sergeant Emily Lahey (left) and Cooper Blackwood as they prepare to depart for the Warrior Games 2024 in Florida, USA. Credit: ADF

A TEAM UNITED ON A SHARED JOURNEY

The anticipation reached fever pitch as the team, staff, family, and friends gathered at Sydney International Airport to board the Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A.  

Once the team touched down in Florida, they were the recipients of a warm welcome from Team Air Force Wounded Warrior, in an emotional start to their overseas campaign. From seasoned veterans to those recently transitioning to civilian life, this diverse group represents the camaraderie, sportsmanship and strong bonds present among the Defence community.  

Being selected for this team was especially important for Georgia Murrell, who recently transitioned out of the Royal Australian Navy. Before she jetted off to Florida, she was a mix of emotions.   

“I am feeling nervous and excited – It doesn’t feel real yet. I don’t think it will until we walk out during the opening ceremony. It is going to be a once in a lifetime experience, and this has been a great way to end my military career.”  

FAMILY AND FRIENDS FUEL THE SPIRIT

Beyond the competitors themselves, a dedicated network of family and friends forms the backbone of this team. Whether they are in Orlando in person or watching back home, their unwavering support plays a vital role in each competitor’s journey, serving as a constant source of strength and encouragement.  

Jo Lovell, who will be competing in athletics, archery, cycling and swimming, is bringing her 8-year-old son, husband, sister and previous boss along with her. For Jo, her goal is to make her son proud. 

“You’re always saying to your children – give things a go, you don’t have to win, it is more about the journey than the end result. I encourage him to do things but this experience has been a way that I can put into practice what I have said and so he can see me try to be the best person I can.” – Jo Lovell 

Jo Lovell (centre) and her family. Credit: ADF

Similarly, Brett Lewis, whose family have been his rock throughout his post service recovery, adds, “There’s no way I’d be here without my family. My boys have been incredible – they’re the ones who picked me up and kept me going.” While Brett is travelling with his wife, sister and brother in-law, he knows his sons will be back home in Wodonga cheering him on.  

Team Australia arrives in Florida not just as competitors, but as a united force, ready to showcase their unwavering spirit, exceptional skills, and the enduring human capacity to overcome adversity. The Games may not have begun yet, but the journey itself has already fostered a sense of camaraderie and determination that will stick with the competitors long term.  

To find out more about the Warrior Games, the adaptive sports showcased and how you can follow along from home, read our Insider Guide to the Warrior Games. 

Brett Lewis (left) and his wife. Credit: ADF

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR TEAM AUSTRALIA

Team Australia would love your support! Tag @invictusaustralia in your stories and posts, send us your photos or use the hashtag #InvictusAustralia so we can share them! We’d love to see where in the world you are supporting the members of Team Australia from 💛 

If you would like to support Team Australia and purchase your own spectator merch, you can do so here.   


Invictus Australia partners with the Australian Defence Force to deliver Team Australia for both the Warrior and Invictus Games as part of the ADF Adaptive Sport Program. Learn more here.  


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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.