Sports & Style: Meet The Invictus AthletesWritten by Jacamo in Men's Style Sport on September 22nd, 2017
What are the Invictus Games?
Prince Harry founded the multi-sport games as a positive initative for injured service men and women in the UK. It provides an opportuinity to train and compete on a world stage. It’s now the third year of the games and includes teams from 17 nations. Competitors have praised the competition for helping them to progress with their physical and mental recoveries.
MEET THE ATHLETES..
We teamed up with three of the 2016 competitors to hear their story, and to showcase our new autumn – winter range.
David Wiseman- 2016 Captain and Swimmer
David was commanding a small British Infantry team embedded within Helmand province in 2009 when he was shot in the chest whilst conducting a fighting patrol that came into contact with the Taliban.
The round entered his shoulder and travelled the length of his torso, ricocheting on his ribs before coming to rest in his right lung, where it resides to this day.
David was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012, a condition which he says is now manageable thanks to the fantastic treatment he received alongside his physical rehabilitation.
Jaco van Gass – Cyclist
Jaco joined the Parachute Regiments in February 2007, completing two tours to Afghanistan in 2008 and 2009.
He was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade, which caused the loss of his left arm, he also suffered a collapsed lung, punctured internal organs, loss of muscle and tissue from the upper left thigh and multiple shrapnel wounds which altered his life forever.
Luke Wigman – Athletics
Luke was mentoring a team of Afghan troops on foot patrol in Sangin, Helmand province, when he stepped on an Improvised Explosive Device. The blast threw him in the air, burning the skin off his left leg. Luke spent two months recovering in hospital, during which time he had no movement in his left leg.
After six years’ service, he was eventually medically discharged from the RAF in 2013.
DESCRIBE YOUR BACKGROUND PRIOR TO BECOMING AN INVICTUS GAMES ATHLETE?
DAVID: “I was an officer in the British Army and served in the Yorkshire regiment commanding men on operations in both Iraq and Afghanistan.”
JACO: “I was in the Armed Forces in the parachute regiment. I did two tours to Afghanistan and before then I lived in South Africa for quite some time, where I was born.”
LUKE: “Before the Invictus Games, I joined the RAF regiment in 2008 and had two successful tours in Afghanistan.”
HOW HAS YOUR LIFE CHANGED SINCE YOUR INJURIES?
DAVID: “In my second tour of Afghanistan, I was shot in the chest during a fire fight with the Taliban. I owe my life to the medics on the ground and the helicopter crew that came and picked me up that day.”
JACO: “During my recovery, I got involved in high altitude mountaineering which is a normal and natural step. During that process, I realised that sport had a really powerful and positive effect on my own recovery. My life has changed dramatically since my injuries but it’s also changed for the better. I have gone on to do things I never thought I would be a part of.”
WHAT DO THE INVICTUS GAMES MEAN TO YOU?
DAVID: “Since leaving the army, I have dedicated my personal and professional life to furthering my own ambitions in sport, but also in helping others in similar situations to realise their own ambitions. I strongly believe that sport is a fantastic catalyst for recovery and has a huge positive impact on both the physical, psychological and indeed the social impact that is associated with any injury. The Invictus Games is just the epitome of that.”
JACO: “It really brings back the ethos of working hard and working together as a team that I experienced in the army. It’s great to participate with people who have similar injuries, or worse, and just knowing these people have gone through the same hardship as you have is reassuring.”
LUKE: “It makes you realise you are not alone and that there are a lot of people in your position. The road to recovery is a journey. The Invictus Games is like a continuation of rehab, it gives you something to focus on and wake up for.”
WHAT’S BEEN THE BEST PART OF STARRING IN JACAMO’S AW17 PHOTOSHOOT?
DAVID: “What’s happened today is I’ve been given the confidence to try lots of new things. I was wearing a velvet smoking jacket which is not something I would have ever considered before, but now I definitely would. All three of us have seen that the clothes on offer have felt and looked good, showing that they can fit any man, no matter what shape or size.”
JACO: “I always struggle buying suits but the one I tried on today I would definitely buy.”
LUKE: “For me it’s been all about the sporty look because it’s just so comfy but still stylish. I would go for that every time.”
You can catch all of the coverage on the BBC, kicking off at 5.35pm on Sunday 24th with the opening ceremony, and running every night for a week. Here’s our guide to the sports you can see.
See the guys in action on our Autumn / Winter photoshoot >>here