After seven days of competition, displaying hope, resilience and camaraderie among over 500 international competitors, Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 has wrapped up in style.
Team Australia’s 31 serving and former-serving military competitors were joined at the closing ceremony by friends, family and fans from all over the world, coming together to celebrate the successes of the sixth Games.
The ceremony kicked off with a parade of nations as teams took to the stage to rapturous applause from the crowd, marking the end of the eight-day event, held in Düsseldorf from 9 to 16 September.
Representatives from the international contingent of volunteers, family and friends also enjoyed their moment in the Merkur Spiel-Arena’s spotlight, acknowledging the important role they have played in the Games.
“We’ve all witnessed the true impact sport has had on your recovery and on your post-traumatic growth,” a visibly emotional Games patron, the Duke of Sussex, said during the ceremony.
“But you will never truly know the impact that your actions this week have had on millions of people around the world.
“You have opened people’s hearts through your vulnerability, resilience and through your sheer abilities. You have shown us that joy can emerge from struggle. And for that, we are eternally grateful.”
It has been a long week for the competitors, who have each represented their country in three separate sports across the competition, in front of 140,000 people including teammates, military, friends and family, and spectators.
German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, thanked the participants for their service and commitment, saying the Games gave the competitors the chance to forge new friendships and find a sense of belonging.
“Your strength to keep on going every single day is what has brought you together here,” he told competitors during the ceremony.
“All of you here refuse to give up and in that you are an example to all of us.
“For eight days you have been together with people who understand precisely where you’re coming from when you tell your story. And that is exactly the reason for these Games.”
English singer-songwriter, Sam Ryder, entertained the audience early in the ceremony while popstar, Rita Ora, closed out the night, performing five songs in front of the appreciative crowd.
The Australian contingent will depart tomorrow on a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A to return home.
The Invictus Games is an international, adaptive multi-sports competition for serving and former military personnel who have been wounded, injured or become ill during their military service.