Bringing together over 500 competitors from 20 nations, the 2020 Invictus Games reinforced the power of sport in inspiring recovery, rehabilitation and respect for those who have served their country.
The 2020 Invictus Games, which took place in The Hague, Netherlands, are officially over as Friday’s closing ceremony marked the formal end of the Games.
To celebrate the successes and spectacular achievements of the Invictus Games competitors, The Inner Sanctum recaps some of the most memorable moments focusing on team Australia’s efforts.
The Invictus Games is more than just sports and goes beyond the sporting arena—it captures hearts, challenges minds, and proves to the world that anything is possible.
This year’s athletes proved exactly this.
Day One: Driving to victory
While the major highlight of day one of the Invictus Games was, of course, the opening ceremony, the Land Rover Driving Challenge officially marked the first medal event and got things revved up.
The driving challenge, which took place on the bespoke course in The Hague’s Zuiderpark, is the ultimate test of precision and power.
The event tests driving skills, navigation abilities, decisiveness and teamwork using the prestige and punchy Land Rover vehicles.
It was team France who drove its way to victory to claim gold in the Land Rover Challenge.
Also impressive behind the wheel and to take home silver and bronze medals were teams Romania and Georgia.
Day Two: Aussie flare and love in the air
Day two of the Invictus Games saw its first full day of sports.
It was an action-packed day on the athletics track, with Australia running home with plenty of medals—three gold and three silver.
Australia’s former Parachute Rigger Emma Murfet dominated the women’s I4F shotput final, taking home gold. The sweet victory was the icing on the cake after a difficult few years for the Aussie.
Stephen French claimed silver for team Australia in the men’s IF4 discus, and Andrew Wilkinson also added to the medal tally, taking home silver in the men’s IT7 1500m final.
While the Aussie athletes were looking ahead on the track to claim their medals, Denmark’s Lasse Jakobsen and Romania’s Angel Paul llovan were looking ahead to the future by proposing to their respected partners.
Day two proved to be a memorable day for the athletes, as many achieved both sporting and personal milestones.
Day Three: Mateship and medals
Day three of the Invictus Games featured finals in various sports including sitting volleyball and athletics.
Team Australia’s 14-person sitting volleyball team was prepared and ready to take on team Poland during Monday’s match.
The Aussie sitting volleyball team just missed out on finals and a chance of a medal after losing 0-2 to Poland. But it was the side’s mateship that captured the attention of the crowd.
Team Australia garnered significant attention during day three of the athletics finals at Zuiderpark, with many athletes adding to Australia’s medal tally.
All eyes were on Aussie favourite Emma Murfet who secured her second gold medal of the 2020 Games in the women’s IT7 100m.
Murfet also secured another silver medal in the IT7 200m final, finishing just 0.02 seconds behind team USA’s Lisa McCranie.
Day Four: Making a splash
Whether in the pool or on the court, teamwork and courage were in full force for day four of the games, as athletes made a splash in swimming and wheelchair rugby rolled onto centre stage.
In the ultimate test of speed and power, the wheelchair rugby tournament saw team Australia start strong to defeat Canada, 22-7.
While Australia got off to a strong start, their second match of the day was not as successful, with team USA defeating them, 10-15.
In true Australian spirit, the team put up a good fight and won its next two matches against France and Italy, respectively.
Team Australia also made quite the splash during day four and dominated the pool, collecting a mass of medals.
The Australian men’s 4x50m freestyle relay team featuring Andrew Wilkinson, James Saville, Peter Brown and Christopher O’Brien delivered an outstanding performance in the pool.
Wilkinson, Saville, Brown and O’Brien finished up on top of the podium, taking home gold.
Just behind the Aussies to claim the silver medal were team USA’s Sean Walsh, Robert Dominguez, August O’Niell and Ross Alewine.
Day Five: Fast and furious
Day five of the Invictus Games saw fierce indoor rowing from the Australian team.
Among the rowers was two-time Invictus Games gold medallist Emilea Mysko. Mysko claimed two gold medals at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney.
Adding to her Invictus Games medal tally, Mysko claimed silver in the women’s IR5 1-minute sprint, rowing 298m.
With just 19m separating the gold and silver medals, Great Britain’s Lucy Holt scored the gold, rowing 317m.
Day Six: A shining example of the Invictus spirit
The screech of metal as wheels collided and the body slams during the men’s wheelchair basketball kept spectators on the edge of their seats.
Team Australia took the court against Canada, the UK and the Netherlands in their poule matches.
Its first match against the Netherlands was tight, with the final score, 14-18, awarding the Dutch victory.
Australia’s shot at the finals started slipping away in their second match against the UK. Team UK progressed to the finals after defeating the Aussies, 11-19.
Despite being defeated in all three of their matches, and not making it through to the finals, the Aussies played with mateship, courage, and pride—all examples of Invictus Spirit.
Day Seven: The Invictus spirit lives on
The 2020 Invictus Games reached its conclusion on day seven.
The last day of the games brought fierce competition on the cycling track, with competitors racing against the clock on the 2.5km track.
Over the action-packed seven days, the international veteran community, once again, shone a light on the power of sport to inspire and encourage recovery and rehabilitation for wounded and injured veterans.
Like previous Invictus Games, 500 vigorous competitors from 20 nations showed us that anything is possible post-injury.