Aaron Schachter: I’m Aaron Schachter and this is the world. Invictus is the Latin word for unconquered and it’s the name of a sporting event that starts tomorrow in London the Invictus games are for wounded service men and women. Over 400 injured veterans from 13 nations will be competing in a variety of sports. The games were the brainchild of British royal prince harry, he attended the warrior games here in the US and decided to create a similar British event. Jon Le Galloudec has competed in the warrior games and will be competing in three swimming games at the Invictus games. He’s a British veteran of the Iraq war.
Jon Le Galloudec: 2007 I was in Iraq and on a night patrol where I was shot in the spine by a sniper from that point on life was pretty bleak I was paralyzed from the waist down and I was told that I would never walk again. After a lot of physio and sheer guts and determination I was able to take my first few tentative steps a few months later.
Schachter: And were you someone who had been swimming before?
Le Galloudec: Not competitively only just for keeping fit and things like that, that was all.
Schachter: And how important is it for the UK to host their own version of the warrior games, the Invictus games?
Le Galloudec: It’s hugely important, the Invictus games it gives us a reason to get out of bed, it gives us a focus. We’ve all been in the military, we all strive to be the best and we can now go to the Invictus games and compete in all the other 12 countries.
Schachter: I wonder if you go speak with other injured service member and if you do what do you tell them as far as how sport can help them.
Le Galloudec: It’s just about passing on the wisdom. I’m seven years on in my injury, if someone’s not quite far along and for me sport has been a huge, huge part of my recovery, it’s helped me immensely and if I can pass that on to other people that aren’t quite as far along in their injury, and if you love sport and want to carry it on it can give you a focus and a drive.
Schachter: Are these kinds of games, Invictus games in the UK, and Warrior games here in the US, reminders for injured veterans mostly or do you see them as kind of a reminder to the rest of us that hey these wars happened and there are victims all around?
Le Galloudec: I think it’s a reminder to the world not only to just us. A lot of us have been severely injured and at that time life looks very bleak and sport is our way of getting back in that competitive edge, it shows the world that we’re not defeated, we stand unconquered and we move on.
Schachter: I wonder if you could give us a snap shot of you life before and after because I know something of your life after, now you’ve climbed Mt. Everest, right, you’ve climbed Kilimanjaro, you’re kind of a bad ass now, were you always?
Le Galloudec: I’ll take that as a compliment, no I wasn't, pre-injury I was just the average soldier, I never stood out, I never not stood out I just wanted to be the gray man and carry on. I was at my physical peak condition I was enjoying life and I was looking forward to serving my country and then on the 7th of June 2007 it kind of all changed, and a change isn't necessarily a bad thing you just have to adapt to a new way of life and to be honest, post injury, I've been privileged to do so many things, as you said the climbing Everest base camp, climbing Kilimanjaro and the warrior games and now the Invictus games.
Schachter; well, Jon Le Galloudec you are anything but the gray man. Jon is with the British team competing in the Invictus games, thank you so much and good luck.