A 20-year-long trip will finally come to an end Wednesday morning when Greg Stewart makes his first-ever appearance at a Paralympic Games, in Tokyo 2020.
It will be in the men’s F46 shot put event, where he is expected to reach the podium. He was a silver medalist at the Parapan American Games (despite a back injury) and at the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Championships, both held in 2019.
Originally a member of the Canadian sitting volleyball team, Stewart, now 35, was unable to qualify for previous editions of the Paralympics, making this already a memorable experience for him.
“I’m definitely more committed than ever before,” he said to Athletics Canada before his trip to Japan. “To represent a country that is loving, caring, and connected, I’m very humbled by it.
“It’s been 20 years in the making, with a lot of hard work, blood, sweat and tears going into this.”
As a native of Kamloops, B.C., the home of the National Throws Centre until 2013, Stewart’s decision to pursue a future as a thrower once his volleyball and basketball careers came to an end was the natural thing to do.
One year after marking a personal best of 13.08 metres at his first International Paralympic Committee-sanctioned event, the shot putter ended his rookie season in 2018 No. 1-ranked in the world in the same event he’s competing in at these Games.
By 2019, Stewart was one of the two athletes who managed to throw past the 16-metre mark, establishing a new national record of 16.30-metres at the IPC World Championships.
The other shot putter was the U.S.’s Joshua Cinnamo, who was also the gold medallist at the Lima Parapan Games and is currently leading the world ranking. Stewart will face his American counterpart once again at Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium, which would give a victory for the Canadian an even deeper meaning.