13th September 2014
GERMAN ARCHER, CYCLIST AND SWIMMER JASON BOURKE TALKS ABOUT HIS “OVERWHELMING” EXPERIENCES AT THE INVICTUS GAMES
13 September 2014 – After taking part in the Men’s IRB3 Road Bike Time Trial and Circuit Race we caught up with Corporal Jason Bourke to hear about his experiences at the inaugural Invictus Games, presented by Jaguar Land Rover.
Corporal Bourke, who lives in Aschaffenberg, Germany, suffered injuries to his feet in January 2011 while serving in Afghanistan after the vehicle he was travelling in was struck by an IED.
He finished 23rd in the Time Trial and 21st in the Circuit Race but he revealed his final finishing position was the last thing on his mind.
How did you sustain your injuries?
In 2011 I was the interpreter for my German Army Captain and I was on an American vehicle clearing the streets of IEDs. We were the fourth vehicle and an IED detonated right under me so my feet got injured in the process. For nine months I was in a wheelchair and for another nine months I was on crutches. I can’t run anymore so cycling and swimming are the things I do now.
What role did sport play in your rehabilitation?
I owe a lot to the role sport played in my recovery. It got me out of a hole as I was suffering from depression and it helped me to lose a lot of weight so it’s been a huge thing for me. I wasn’t into intensive sport before the accident but I was a paratrooper so I did a lot of running and hiking as part of fitness for that. My feet give me quite a lot of pain but when I compete it takes my mind away from it.
What does it mean to be competing in London at the Invictus Games?
It’s so overwhelming just to be here and be part of the Invictus Games and that’s all that matters to me. Just to be here competing and meet new people from other nations and the comradeship here is just the best. It’s very inspiring to meet other people who have much worse injuries than me and they inspire me to do sports more and more because what they had to go through is a lot more than I did.
How did you find the cycling races?
They were fantastic – I just gave everything I had because you can’t do more here. OK I didn’t win a medal but just to be competing here is so fantastic and overwhelming. It would have been great if I could have medalled but the event is way more important than the result and it was just important to be competing.
What else have you been doing at the Invictus Games?
I did the archery earlier in the week which I didn’t do too well in but I had only held a bow three times in my life so it was alright. It was still a blast to compete. And I’ve got the swimming tomorrow so I hope I can still compete with these legs after this cycling. I think swimming is probably my strongest event as I can use my arms more.
What’s next for you now after these Games?
I’m going back to school for my military career so I can move further up the ranks. I will continue with my cycling and swimming as a hobby but it will be a bit lower in my priorities with my studies.