Invictus Games House Opens at Olympic Park

A unique place has been created for Invictus Games Sydney 2018 competitors, and their families and friends at Sydney Olympic Park.

The Dome is now ‘Invictus Games House’ and with Saturday’s Opening Ceremony fast approaching it is buzzing with excitement as competitors drop in to eat, relax and meet other competitors over a game of pool or a casual chat.

It’s a place where the familiar comforts of home are duplicated on a much larger scale. That’s because 500 competitors from 18 countries will pass through its doors.

The House offers couches for lounging, a fully catered dining area serving breakfast, lunch and dinner estimated to produce 52,000 meals – well, there’s an aim to make it 52,018 since it’s 2018.

Entertainment includes a games area with a daily ultimate trivia quiz table, giant chess, dart boards, pool tables and air hockey tables.

Against the back drop of air hockey pucks whizzing back and forth Ukraine’s Yurii Dmytrenko explains it is the atmosphere that will bring him to Invictus Games House each day.

“Along with the competition that brings me to the Games, it is meeting the guys from other countries and hearing their different stories that helps me realise that we are all not so different after all,” he said.

Music is supplied by an in-house DJ, who boasts a play list of the Top-40 hits from each country.

Feeling homesick, visitors to the House can check their local time-zones with clocks telling the hour for all 18 countries and flags from each nation hanging from the walls.

The expected 200 children accompanying competitors have their own play zone with face painting, books, boards games and daily activities for all ages.

Even a replacement for the family pet has been provided and to help ease the visitors into the transition of arriving from a different country and manage the competition, Integra Assistance Dogs are available to provide support.

Integra Dogs work with veterans and first responders and their families suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Handler Mark Holmes is available in the House with a selection of dogs for the competitors, families and friends to spend time with a support dog.

“It is amazing to see the calming effect the power of a dog has and our dogs are an important part of supporting the healing of PTSD,” said Holmes.

The response from the competitors who got a first visit to Invictus Games House was overwhelmingly positive, and the aim of providing an oasis away from the bustle of a global event has been achieved.

There are message boards available for the visitors to share and communicate thoughts and feelings, with one in particular summing up the overall atmosphere of the House: ‘You are here, that’s the biggest hurdle – ENJOY!’

Lila Murgatroyd
Invictus Games 2018