From a Broken Back to Double Invictus Gold

by Kate McKenzie-McHarg on December 06, 2018
In the lead up to the Sydney Invictus Games, we caught up with indoor rower Ben Farinazzo. With the event completed, we caught up with him again to talk about his two gold medals, the games and what the future will hold.
  • Congratulations on winning your two gold in the indoor rowing! How have you/do you plan to celebrate your success?

The indoor rowing was an epic event. The Men’s Open Indoor Rowing event was possibly the largest single event at the games with a whopping 60 competitors from 15 nations. It was the only event at the games where competitors were issued with their own spew buckets! The roar from the crowd was thunderous as we marched into the arena beside some massive units. It felt like being a gladiator walking into the colosseum. My intention going into the games was to give my best and celebrate the experience with others. My victory was having achieved that and so much more. I continue to celebrate my success by listening to the stories of others and sharing those tears, goosebumps and hugs.


  • With the games now concluded how does it feel to have been part of such an exciting event?
This was truly an unexpected, life-changing experience. I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent our country, compete alongside so many champions and to share the experience with my family.
  • The Australian Team did exceptionally well, especially in the indoor rowing. How did it feel to have so many friends succeed?
The spirit in the Australian Team was awesome. Our team was fit, friendly and formidable. Everyone celebrated each other. It was wonderful to see the positive, healing power that sport had on everyone in the team. Our Indoor Rowing team was full of absolute legends. They demonstrated dedication, focus, teamwork, and true grit. I feel so proud to have been able to stand shoulder to shoulder with them all.
  • What is now the next aim for you? Any more major events in sight?

The games were a deeply, transformational experience that has impacted on many different levels. I am looking forward to sharing the positive impact of these games with others. I’ve enjoyed continuing with my regular exercise routine. I’m particularly pumped as I’m in the process of ordering a new Sykes single scull. I’m really excited to return to the water to watch the sunrise and listen to the bubbles trickle along the hull of the boat. I’d be keen to compete in local, national and where possible, international Masters indoor and on-water rowing events. I’m looking forward to celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Kings Cup at Royal Henley Rowing Regatta next year.


  • Finally, its open to you, is there anyone you would like to thank or congratulate regarding the Invictus Games and or your recovery?

I feel very privileged to have been selected to represent our nation to compete on the global stage alongside so many wonderful people at Invictus Games Sydney 2018. It is an honour that I never thought was possible at this time in my life. I could never have imagined this experience happening, especially after encountering so many obstacles over recent years. Standing on the podium is a testament to all those that have given their time, love and support to help me and my family in our time of need. I recognise that there are many people in our community that are challenged on a daily basis with physical and mental wounds and illness. My heart and prayers go out to everyone and I hope that we as Australians can continue to shine a light on those in need, and rally together to improve to quality of people’s lives. Congratulations to Ben and all the athletes that competed at the Invictus Games, your strength and unconquerable attitude have inspired us all.

You can continue follow Ben's journey via his Twitter - @benfarinazzo

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