Retired United States Marine James Dunaway banished his wife from the archery competition on Thursday at the Invictus Games Sydney 2018 presented by Jaguar Land Rover.
His reason? Quite simple: “I need to keep my heart rate low and I can’t do that with her around!”
So instead of watching her husband compete in his third and final event of the Games, Arelene spent the day 50 kilometres away, cuddling koalas and exploring the Blue Mountains.
And while she wasn’t in the crowd, there was no lack of support for Dunaway and the competitors with Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark and the Governor of New South Wales David Hurley among those to cheer the competitors from 18 nations.
Dunaway, who hails from Florida, competed in the novice recurve event and while he didn’t qualify for the medal round he was honoured to be competing.
“I loved having my wife, who is my biggest support, there at the cycling and rowing where I need my heart pumping,” he said.
I’m a marine – she was in the army – so I’m always trying to impress her!
“There was nothing better than seeing her at the finish line at the cycling, but I have to focus in the archery, and I can’t do that with her around.”
Dunaway attributes sport, and the Invictus Games, to his recovery after five deployments in five and a half years to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He has also competed at the Warrior Games – the event which inspired the Duke of Sussex Prince Harry to found the Invictus Games.
“I’ve loved every moment of the journey leading up to this,” Dunaway said.
“Cycling saved me and saved my marriage. There will be a time in the future when I tell my kids about my military experience.
“I don’t want to be old man Dunaway who sits on his front porch and says nothing… it is important to talk about our experience serving our country.”
Invictus Games Sydney 2018