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Gregor Ewan

Wheelchair curler Gregor Ewan is going for a gold medal at Beijing 2022 Winter Paralympic Games.

Gregor Ewan, Wheelchair Curling, by ©Marco Ciccolella/Alamy Stock Photo

Ahead of this year’s Beijing Winter Paralympics, wheelchair curler Gregor Ewan is taking inspiration from his life-long hero - Muhammad Ali.

Ewan is prepared to 'float like a butterfly, sting like a bee' at this year’s Winter Games as Ali’s famous words ring true in his ears.

He said: "Muhammad Ali is just a class act. When I was four years old, my cousin was in the merchant navy, and he took us boxing. I loved boxing and I always wanted to go professional.  

"Muhammad Ali was one of the best boxers you could ever watch, and I still think he's incredible. He was a very charismatic man and I think he's a brilliant role model. He's my idol - my hero."

Four years after returning empty-handed from Pyeongchang, Ewan is hoping to clear up some unfinished business at this year’s Winter Games.

Ewan was unable to match his 2014 bronze medal success in Sochi at the 2018 Winter Paralympics, with the team finishing seventh in the round-robin stage and failing to qualify for the knockout phase. 

It was a heart-breaking blow for Ewan, and one that saw him out of the game for a while after that. 

But Ali's inspiration always found its way into his career, and Ewan has since turned his life around in a bid to become the greatest in Beijing. 

Ewan, one of over 1,000 athletes able to train full-time, access to the world’s best coaches and benefit from pioneering technology, science and medical support thanks to vital National Lottery funding, said: "It's unfinished business. I want to get a gold Paralympic medal. 

"After Korea, I went home and asked myself 'could I have done more?'. The answer was yes. It was too late but I'm not doing that again. 

"It's definitely made me more determined. I had to give myself a good hard shake and look at myself in all aspects.  

"I changed a lot of things to make myself a better curler. I don't want to come back from China this time around and wonder what more I could have done.  

"The last few years leading up to Beijing, I've done everything I could do to prepare for this.” 

In the years since 2018, Ewan’s devastation at missing out on a medal worsened when he was dropped from the Scottish team.

But he did not lose heart and powered on in the hope of returning to the game, taking several drastic measures including losing eight stone and putting a big focus on reducing his use of pain medication. 

Having become a wheelchair user due to a spinal collapse from decades of heavy lifting on building sites, Ewan first got into the sport at Moray Wheelchair Curling Club as a way to ‘get off my backside and do something.’

Ewan, who will aim to add to the 1,000-plus medals achieved by British athletes since the advent of National Lottery funding to elite sport in 1997, said: "I'd go down, play a couple games, have a cup of coffee, and there was a bar upstairs so you could even have a pint if you'd played well!  

"I fell in love with the sport. Once I started learning the rules and learning the strategy, the targets, and have the cold trying to zap you at the same time - those are the three aspects of the game - I was hooked. I still love it and enjoy it every time I play. 

He continued: “The Paralympics is the pinnacle of where we can play so to get any medal is a great achievement. I was over the moon with a bronze in Sochi but I still think there's more to come in Beijing. 

"I would like to be able to come off the ice at the end of the competition and say: 'I gave it my all.'"

Since National Lottery funding to elite sport started in 1997, over 1,000 Olympic and Paralympic medals have been won, with more to come in Beijing 2022, Paris 2024 and beyond.

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