Family and Friends, have new friends and great memories

Amazing. Fantastic. Terrific. Awesome.

Just some of the words used to describe Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover by the family and friends, here to their loved ones. Not even the spectacular thunderstorm that delayed the Opening Ceremony could rain on the Invictus Games parade with Teresa Canich, mother of Brian Canich from Team USA, saying that it added to the excitement of the evening.

New friendships have blossomed, not only between competitors but also between their proud supporters. Lone Lundberg, supporting Jan Nielsen from Denmark, loved the sense of community among the family and friends’ network and will leave Sydney with many new friends. Diane Schmidt, mother of Tyson Schmidt from Team USA, believes her main memories of the week will centre around the wonderful people she’s met.

Many have been touched by level of support within teams, between teams and by the thousands of cheering spectators who have filled the venues throughout the week. Matthew Vanglioni’s wife Katherine from New Zealand said, ‘There has been amazing support from the spectators, everyone is cheering for everyone else, no matter what country you’re from.’

Family and friends understand more than anyone the power of sport to heal the wounded and this message shone through all week. Jackie Williamson, mother of Rachel Williamson from the United Kingdom, said that sport has meant everything to her daughter. After she lost the use of her right arm, she refused to play sport for a while until she heard about the Invictus Games which has been her saving grace.

Aussie Davin Bretheton echoed those sentiments, reflecting that sport had been life changing for his dad, also named Davin Bretheton. He has enjoyed seeing his dad greeted in the street by strangers like a celebrity, thanks to his participation in wheelchair rugby.

Many reported that IG2018 has put a smile on the face of their loved one, with the family of Team USA’s George Vera commenting on how competitors are smiling with their eyes.

And finally, Sydney will forever hold a special place in the heart of the Netherland’s Jeffrey Vroegop and his girlfriend – Jeffrey proposed at the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and she said yes!

Julie Parry-Barwick
Invictus Games Sydney 2018