The 2018 Invictus Games are less than five months away and this morning, swimming champion and Invictus Games Sydney ambassador Ian Thorpe was joined by Aussie athletes, Corporal Sonya Newman and Jeff Wright, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney to announce tickets to the Paralympics-style event are officially on sale.
Urging all Australians to get involved and buy tickets, Ian Thorpe told Now To Love the power of the Invictus Games are unlike anything he's ever experienced.
"I think for people who haven't experienced Invictus yet, it's this great competition where it's not just about the gold medal, it's also about the story behind the athletes that are competing there," Ian Thorpe explained to us.
"The struggle and the journey and what they've overcome to be there, for a lot of them participation is important. Also the way their families have supported them in getting back out there and back into society."
"Invictus is great because it gets back to the purity of sport. For some people it's the gold medal, for others the participation is just as important. For Sydney, I think it's a great opportunity to showcase the city to the rest of the world," the 35-year-old gold medallist continued.
18 years after the Sydney Olympic Games, which saw a then-17-year-old Ian Thorpe walk away with a record-breaking three gold and two silver medals, it's a full circle moment as the harbour-side city prepares to host the Invictus Games this October.
"It's going to be great for Australians, especially with the centenary of the ANZAC, and people will really connect with our service men and women over what they do," Thorpie told us.
For the retired swimming star, there was never any doubt in his mind that he'd be be offering to help fly the Invictus flag in any way possible.
"I watched Invictus in London and wanted to be involved in it. I thought this is a great program and put my hand up and said: 'What can I do to help?'"
While Thorpie will be front and centre at the swimming, he's also a huge fan of the wheelchair rugby admitting it's his "favourite" sport to watch.
With tickets starting at just $20, there's a price point for everyone.
"To have the games here in Australia is a fantastic thing! The competitors are all there to give it their best and compete, but everyone supports everyone. To see that camaraderie and the bond between service men and women worldwide, compares with nothing," 2017 Aussie athlete Corporal Sonya Newman told Now To Love at the launch event.
Former military man Prince Harry launched the Paralympics-style event for wounded servicemen and women back in 2014 and it has since become a global attraction.
Sonya says having the "down-to-earth" royal champion the event gives it the spotlight it deserves.
"To have Prince Harry behind it has obviously helped make it what it is. It's only very new, this is the fourth games. To gain that sort of publicity, it would be hard to achieve that without someone of his stature behind it," she said.
"The fact he's also a serving member, how real does it get? The guy's just another guy and that's the best thing about it. He comes down and has a chat to you, he talks to you just like you're anybody else. He's really approachable and he makes it what it is, he's the guy that brings everyone together!"
"It doesn't matter what stature he holds in the public eye, when he's talking to you, he's talking to you! It's very helpful to have someone like him behind it all and get the media attention it deserves," Sonya added.
Prince Harry and his new wife Meghan Markle will bring the fourth Invictus Games to Sydney from the 20th to the 27th of October.
The Games celebrate the healing power of sport and will see 500 athletes from 18 nations compete in 11 sports.
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Australian Women's WeeklyFeb 14, 2019