Invictus Games

Inked Athletes: Team UK Mark Invictus Success With Games Tattoos

As many as 20 Team UK athletes have got an Invictus Games tattoo to signify the obstacles they have passed to get to Sydney.

To mark their achievements in Sydney, many athletes from Team UK have gotten a permanent reminder of this year's Invictus Games tattooed on their body.

Many of them chose to follow the Invictus motto 'make your mark'.

Some even got the ink before they left the UK for Australia.

"I got the tattoo before the games so I could use it as a visual memory," says Rachel Williamson, from Team UK.

"I can go through all the Games itself, through all the sports and if I know that I've got a moment where I'm thinking 'why am I here - what am I doing?', it's a personal note to myself to say just take a deep breath, this is where you are, believe in yourself and I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul."

Invictus Tattoos Credit BFBS 261018
Rachel had the words "I am the master of my fate, the captain of my soul" tattooed with the Invictus logo.

Matthew Tate, who is an Invictus Games athlete competing in Team UK says for him the tattoo is a "motivation":

"It basically symbolises our recovery.

"It's a massive motivational poem that separates us from civilian life."

The history of tattoos in the military is long and rather complicated. It wasn't until 2014 when the UK relaxed the rules on tattoos for servicemen and women.

It meant they could have non-offensive tattoos on their hands and back of their necks.

Last year, the US Air Force followed suit by updating its policy to allow personnel to have full tattoo sleeves on their arms or large back pieces.

Reports of personnel having tattoos date back to the 19th century, including tales of the last Commander-in-Chief of the Forces, Field Marshal Lord Roberts bearing military ink and even encouraging his troops to get tattoos of their regimental crests.

Invictus Tattoos Credit BFBS 261018

Invictus athlete, Mr Tate said the Invictus Games was the pinnacle to his recovery. He now wears his Invictus tattoo which features a powerlifting weight with pride on his chest. 

He added:

"Always having it etched on my skin and always remembering it is something special for me."

Fellow teammate David Atkin echoed his comments by saying: "I wanted the Invictus logo imprinted on me for the rest of my life like it's going to be imprinted on my mind."

David added: "It just gives me that reminder of the importance of Invictus and how it's changed my life. It's changed me as a person - it's made me a better person and I think that every time I see it."

Invictus Tattoos Credit BFBS 261018

It is thought there are as many as 20 athletes from Team UK that have had the same iconic Invictus Games logo tattooed onto them.

For Sarah Robinson, her tattoo has a double meaning behind the ink. She lost a friend to terminal lung cancer before the Games began, the tattoo is now a reminder of what she's achieved whilst also paying tribute to her late friend.

She also named her bike 'Laura', as part of the game's tradition, where athletes name the bike they are racing with.

While looking at her tattoo she said: "Now I look at that, I know in here that I am completely in control of what's happening to me.

"I know what's happening to me, I know I'm not going mad and I know that it's me that can change it."

Keep up to date with the 2018 Invictus Games here.