As Team Canada’s Invictus coach Peter Lawless heads to Australia for the 2018 Invictus Games the mission there is twofold.
Sydney hosts the Invictus Games Oct. 20 to 27.
Canada’s 40-member team of veteran forces athletes are looking to get on as many podiums as possible, while the team’s head coach, Lawless, will use the Games as a chance to understand the next steps in a process that could bring the Invictus Games to Victoria. Lawless heads the Victoria bid committee hoping to host the event here in 2022.
The Invictus Games debuted in London, England, in 2014 to promote sport and physical activity in the rehabilitation journey of wounded, injured and ill service members (injuries visible and invisible) and veterans from around the world.
“Victoria is a proper host city, it has the trifecta of a military background, sport background, and the volunteerism, a perfect place to host the Invictus Games,” Lawless said. “We’vve seen what sports can do, the legacy of the Commonwealth Games here, and bringing these three groups together is how we’ll do it.”
Just prior to the Toronto Invictus Games, CFB Esquimalt, PISE and other partners in Greater Victoria hosted Canada’s athletes in a final training session. Turns out that wasn’t a coincidence.
“There was some forethought that we would be interested in bringing the Games here one day,” Lawless said.
A lawyer with the province, Lawless has also been a high performance coach for 25 years and is vice president of the Canadian Olympic Committee. He’s had tremendous success as a coach of able-bodied and Paralympic athletes and is now overseeing Canada’s national Invictus team in Australia.
While in Sydney Lawless will meet with members of the Invictus Foundation to better understand what has to happen before the Victoria bid committee can submit a proper bid. The Invictus Foundation manages the process of selecting future host cities and the bid process will likely be revealed over the coming months.
The Invictus Games so far has visited different countries for different reasons (Canada wanted it in 2017 to commemorate the centennial of Vimy Ridge) and it isn’t set as an annual or bi-annual event as of yet. After its launch in 2014 it moved to Orlando, U.S.A., in 2016, Toronto in 2017, Sydney 2018 and next will be The Hague will host it in 2020.
Assuming it moves to every second year, the Victoria group will hope for Victoria 2022.
“We will put forward a compelling bid,” Lawless said.