2018 DoD Warrior Games Ultimate Champion looks to make his mark down under
By Christopher Fields, Warrior Care and TransitionSYDNEY - The last time retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine stood on a podium, it was to receive the Ultimate Champion award, an award given to the most accomplished athlete, during the 2018 Department of Defense Warrior Games. Since then, Alewine has resumed his training in preparation to stand on the podium again as a medal winner at the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia."I had goals for Warrior Games and I was fortunate enough to be able to accomplish them," Alewine said. "But what I was able to do there doesn't mean anything here at the Invictus Games. I've got to prove myself and what I'm capable of all over again."Alewine, who has a multitude of injuries from several combat deployments as an infantryman including a ruptured Achilles tendon and a shoulder injury that required a complete reconstruction, discovered adaptive sports during his time recovering at the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. His first event, was the 2017 Army Ten Miler in Washington, D.C. where he completed the ten mile course with his friend in a basketball wheelchair. From there his competitive switch was turned on and it has stayed on."Sports has always been a big part of me and my life. Adaptive sports has given me the ability and opportunity to not only compete again, but be part of a team as well and that's something I really appreciate and enjoy," Alewine said.At the 2018 DoD Warrior Games, Alewine competed in all nine individual events as well as the team sports sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball. While his event load will be significantly less in Sydney where he is competing in only five events (cycling, powerlifting, swimming, rowing, and wheelchair basketball), his intensity and expectations remain the same."I expect to go out there and be competitive. If I don't medal, at the very least I expect to achieve personal bests. I know I've put in the work to be here and be successful and that's all I can do." Despite the sentiment, Alewine has won two gold medals in the indoor rowing endurance and sprint races with three events left in his Invictus Games.Now with gold medals in hand, Alewine has officially exceeded his main goals for the Invictus Games, which were making Team U.S. and having the chance to compete on the international stage."[Being at the Invictus Games] is what I set out to achieve when I started out at the Regional Trials (the first level of competition to represent Team Army at the DoD Warrior Games) at Fort Benning, Georgia in 2017 to being here...this is everything I've been working for," Alewine said. "I'm here, in Sydney, representing my country and competing alongside my brothers and sisters from all the U.S. services, you can't beat it."In addition to rowing, Alewine has already competed in cycling and now turns his attention to his final three events; swimming, powerlifting, and wheelchair basketball all happening later this week.