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Alexia Vlahos

ADF Service: I joined the Australian Army as a Driver Specialist in May 2014 and medically discharged in May 2018.

Age: 23

Hometown: Bindoon, Western Australia

Current town: Stafford, Queensland

Competing in: Athletics, indoor rowing and powerlifting

Alexia Vlahos

What is the Nature of your injury or illness?

I have had five surgeries on my right knee, including two reconstructions and a bone graft from my hip. Living with these injuries has presented mental health challenges.

What role has sport played in your rehabilitation?

Sport and going to the gym have helped me both physically and mentally. Finding myself on a massive rollercoaster of injuries and rehabilitation affected my mindset and I lost the sense of identity and confidence that came from competing at state level.

Sport and gym have 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.

What is your greatest achievement to date?

Things like having the chance to play tennis on the Wimbledon courts with my tennis squad and making the cut for the Invictus Games are all great achievements.

However, I’m most proud of simply not giving up. 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.

Why did you apply for the Invictus Games 2018?

As a child I always wanted to be an elite athlete but, due to injuring myself when I was young, I lost hope of ever getting there. I had to take a step back and think what I actually could do. Just days after my second knee reconstruction and being told I was being medically discharged, someone told me about the Invictus Games. Thinking about going for Games selection brought out in me an inner drive to work for something.

What will “winning” look like for you at these Games?

People smiling and achieving things they didn’t think they ever could. It’s not about the medals, it’s about pushing yourself past your boundaries and everyone’s boundaries are just so different.

The person I most admire is…

I am surrounded by so many strong admirable people, for totally different reasons. One of them is my beautiful partner. I have never met someone so determined and talented.

My best friends Mez and Pam are strong, independent women who I would trust with my life.

My dad is the hardest working person in my life and does everything possible to look after me. My mum battles with demons every day. She has the most beautiful heart.