The Invictus Games Foundation today announced that Lewis Hamilton, Formula 1 World Champion and BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2014, has become its first ambassador.
The Invictus Games Foundation wanted to work with Lewis Hamilton as his focus, determination and talent have taken him to the summit of one of the world's most elite sports, making him an ideal role model for the wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women who are using sport as part of their recovery process.
Earlier this week, Lewis visited Tedworth House where he spent the afternoon meeting competitors from the 2014 Invictus Games. Also present were other wounded, injured or sick Servicemen and women who are using sport as part of their recovery process and will hopefully take part in future Invictus Games.
During his visit, Lewis spent time with competitors and was shown round both Tedworth House and the Phoenix Centre, a state of the art gym complex with some of the UK’s most advanced adaptive sporting facilities. He watched them use the Skiplex, an indoor ski simulator as well as the strength and conditioning gym. Lewis was also put through his paces when he took part in a wheelchair basketball match against several competitors who won Gold at the 2014 Games. Lewis used to play wheelchair basketball with his brother Nicolas who has Cerebral Palsy.
Lewis first met Invictus Games competitors at the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. All 413 Invictus Games competitors from 13 nations were awarded the Helen Rollason Award, which is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the face of adversity. At the same event, Lewis was recognised as the 2014 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
As part of his role as an ambassador, Lewis will continue to support and promote the Invictus Games Foundation as well as support wounded, injured and sick Servicemen, both serving and veteran.
One of the competitors who met Lewis Hamilton is AJ Pingram, a former Marine Engineer who was medically discharged from the Royal Navy.
AJ explains: “It was amazing having Lewis Hamilton visit Tedworth House and spend some time with us all. He seemed genuinely interested in how we’re using sport as part of our recovery process and he definitely gave us a run for our money during the wheelchair basketball match. The Invictus Games was a life-changing experience for me and I’ll never forget how the public came out to support us. Taking part inspired me to make some real changes in my life and I can’t wait for the next Invictus Games.”
The Invictus Games is an international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. It was set up by Prince Harry to use the power of sport to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect of those who serve their country. The inaugural Invictus Games took place in London last September. Over 400 competitors from 13 nations took part in the four-day event, competing in nine sports.
Following the success of the 2014 Invictus Games, the Invictus Games Foundation has been established to pursue and develop the event’s legacy. It manages the process of selecting the hosts of future games and overseeing their delivery. Since the end of the 2014 Games, The Foundation has received a number of bids from potential countries and cities wishing to host the Invictus Games over the coming years. An announcement will be made in due course on the host city for the 2016 Games.
Lewis Hamilton said: “After meeting the Invictus team at BBC Sports Personality of the Year last year I was inspired by their mental strength and determination to overcome adversity and succeed, which encouraged me to get more involved with the Foundation. The visit to Tedworth House was inspirational, it was great to see how sport can play such a key role in rehabilitation and it was a lot of fun playing wheelchair basketball with some of the guys. I’m proud to be their first ambassador.”
Dominic Reid, Managing Director of the Invictus Games Foundation said: “I’m delighted that an athlete of Lewis’ calibre has joined the Invictus Games Foundation as an Ambassador. I am sure he will be a real inspiration to wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women here in the UK and around the world.”
Tedworth House is run by Help for Heroes and the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Help for Heroes supported the MoD in training and selecting the British Armed Forces team for the 2014 Games, as part of their wider Sports Recovery programme.