Prince Harry starts countdown to 2018 Sydney Invictus Games

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Prince Harry referenced the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London as he acknowledged well-wishers Wednesday at Sydney's harborside to mark 500 days until the city hosts the 2018 Invictus Games.

In a ceremony attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Governor General Peter Cosgrove, the British royal told how he was inspired to create the games for wounded veterans as he was leaving Afghanistan, where he had served as an army captain in 2008.

"Sport is what would make the difference," Harry said. "Sport would help these guys and girls fix their lives and reconnect with those around them."

Harry, who is patron of the Invictus Games Foundation, started his speech by sending his thoughts to the victims of the van and knife attacks in London that claimed seven lives on Saturday. He also acknowledged the Manchester attack in which 22 people were killed by a suicide bomber.

"When a bomb left a number of people with life-changing injuries in Manchester last month, wounded veterans, including Invictus team members, immediately offered themselves up to provide advice and support to the victims through their recovery process," Harry said.

"The commitment to serve is ingrained in every member of the armed forces and is the embodiment of the Invictus spirit," he added.

Harry later took to the harbor to watch a sailing demonstration, then became drenched from rain as he stepped from the cover of umbrellas to shake hands with well-wishers.