The Amberley Army driver chosen for the Invictus Games doesn’t know how to give up

Alexia Vlahos’ fighting spirit will be on display when she competes in the
Invictus Games from 20-27 October in Sydney.
The word ‘invictus’ means ‘unconquered’. It describes former Army driver Alexia Vlahos perfectly.

She will be flying the flag for Ipswich alongside 72 serving and former serving Australian Defence Force members.

The Invictus Games aim to harnesses the power of sport to inspire recovery and support the rehabilitation of the competitors, who in turn inspire countless others with their demonstration of determination and resilience.

Vlahos will compete in the athletics, indoor rowing and powerlifting.

“My story is not very exciting. I just had a knee injury that keep reoccurring. I would hurt it, then be almost finished rehabilitation and hurt it again” Vlahos said.

A very humble Vlahos might say her journey has not been your usual war story, her injury was not the result of a battlefield blast, but on the contrary she has still had to pick herself up over and over again, which speaks to her strength of character.

“I have had five surgeries on my right knee, including two reconstructions and a bone graft from my hip. Living with these injuries and rehabilitation affected my mindset and I lost the sense of identity and confidence,” Vlahos said.

Ms Vlahos has recently been medically discharged.

“I do miss it but you can’t hold onto something like that,” she said.

All of her focus now is on doing well on the national stage.

“Thinking about going for games selection brought out in me an inner drive to work for something,” Vlahos said.

“Making the cut for the Invictus Games has been a wonderful way of helping me put my mind to something positive and surrounding me with like-minded people. I understand that I’m not alone on my rehabilitation journey.”

Despite serving her country for four years and making the squad for the Invictus Games, it is not what Vlahos credits as her biggest achievement.

“I’m most proud of simply not giving up,” Vlahos said.

“I’ve had days where my injuries really affected me mentally. Not giving up and chipping away at my rehab, after so many ups and downs, is definitely my greatest achievement.

“These days I’m trying to settle into a routine of strength training in the morning, working then going back to the gym in the afternoon and doing indoor rowing, powerlifting or sprints.”

Vlahos said the powerlift is probably her favourite event and the indoor rowing the most challenging.

“I love when you get to the end of it and you haven’t given up. You know you are going to struggle, it’s going to be hard. You just have to do it.”

Local support has started flowing for Vlahos.

“I feel like Ipswich is a great supportive community. The RSL has offered to help out with some equipment. I couldn’t ask for more from a community,” Vlahos said.

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