Posted: 13 Jul. 2018 10 min. read

Representing your country is a feeling that nothing else can ever replace – enjoy it!

Invictus Games Ambassador and former Wallabies captain Stephen Moore tells us about his involvement with the Games and gives some words of wisdom to those who will compete in Sydney.

Stephen, we already know that in the early days of working to bring the Invictus Games to Sydney, you were an instrumental part of the team. Tell us what that was like from your memory?

Four years ago I was living in Canberra playing with the Brumbies. I had been talking to Deloitte about doing some work, but an injury in 2014 and reconstruction surgery on my knee, meant I was spending more time with you guys than I had planned! After that time in the Soldier Recovery Centre in Darwin, having seen the inaugural Invictus Games in London in 2014 and knowing the strong connection between Australia, respect for our service personnel and HRH The Duke of Sussex, I had a feeling that we could do it.

What was the first few months of that process like once you all made that decision?

It definitely took some time to pull everything together. I remember the main question in those first few months from every stakeholder involved being around cost! I was lucky in that I had some great connections from rugby that we were able to leverage. It was a 9-12 month exercise getting everyone on board that needed to be involved.

What do you think Deloitte brought to the process at this stage?

The main Deloitte role initially really was getting the right stakeholders together. That was crucial – it’s not always smooth sailing when so many different agencies come together, but the team managed this really well and created a great steering committee. The team also leveraged existing connections through Deloitte US with the Warrior Games and Deloitte UK to get a sense of what being involved would entail and what would be needed. Most of all I credit them for really backing the idea and backing the concept. I also give huge credit to your CEO, Cindy Hook. She has always been clear about health and wellbeing being a big priority for Deloitte, and she’s done a great job in making the firm’s commitment to the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 part of that priority.

What does being an Ambassador for Invictus Games Sydney 2018 mean to you?

I’m used to being part of a team, to achieving things together and I understand to a certain extent what it means when that is taken away from you. Obviously I was able to recover from my injuries, and I would never compare my experience to what some of these competitors faced, but it does give me some understanding into what it feels like when you can’t do the thing that you are best at anymore, and when you are suddenly not part of your team.

For these competitors, to be part of a team again, to represent their country again, I understand how important that is, and how instrumental it can be in recovering from injury. And I’ve seen firsthand what it means to families as well. To be an Ambassador for an event that enables all of these things is a privilege.

What do you hope to achieve as Ambassador?

Australia and other countries have had long periods of active service recently – in Iraq, Afghanistan, East Timor. On the back of this period of service there is a spike in injuries and illness. I’m not sure generally people are aware of this, and I think there is a need to highlight that this is happening to our troops and the struggles that recovering from serious injury, physical and mental, can bring. With more awareness and hopefully more support, we can empower the competitors and our service men and women more generally to go on to bigger and better things and feel a sense of worth about themselves. The real legacy will hopefully be that this sense of worth translates into everything they do beyond the Games, and that they hold onto it long after the Games.

What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming Games?

I think the sailing will be great. It’s a new event, very important for Australia and quite unique to these Games. I think it will be a great showcase for all the competitors. I’ll be proud to be in the stands watching everything.

Are there any competitors’ stories that have really stood out for you?

I honestly think anyone who takes part has a great story and I would encourage everyone who gets to any event to speak to a competitor about their story. Most are open to sharing what they have been through to make people aware of how they can support.

Any words of advice to the competitors who will be appearing on this big stage for the first time?

As someone who got the opportunity to represent my country, my advice is to never underestimate how important that is and how proud they should be. There will be nerves and that’s part of competing. I always felt nerves were an essential part of the process for a big occasion. They are there because you recognise the importance of what you are doing – It’s a great thing to feel them. The pride and emotion from being in that national jumper is hard to replicate. Having left that behind now with my playing days, I know it’s not something that you can get back very easily. So my advice really is to soak it in, live in the moment, enjoy it fully and make sure your family will too.

Lastly – your favourite warm-up tunes for getting in the competition zone?

The younger me was way more exciting and would have recommended stuff like Metallica, Pearl Jam, Nirvana. I mellowed slightly then into stuff like Coldplay, and by the end I just enjoyed silence!

Deloitte is incredibly proud to be a Founding Partner of the fourth Invictus Games, taking place in Sydney from 20-27 October 2018.

Authored by Louise Kelly