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Event coverage (video + photo) at the Invictus Games with Adam Kun & Ross Alewine as interviewee.

The Invictus Games: An Interview with Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine

May 022022

If you haven’t heard of the Invictus Games, sit back and get ready to have your mind blown. Founded by Prince Harry in 2013, the Invictus Games bring wounded veterans from around the world to represent their country in a series of individual and team adaptive sports. The Invictus Game inspire and motivate, allowing each veteran to unleash their inner beast from training to the events.

After being delayed in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID, the long-awaited fifth Invictus Games was hosted in The Hague, Netherlands April 16 – 22, 2022. Needless to say, the results were spectacular. Over 500 competitors from 20 nations came together to compete in a variety of adaptive sports including athletics, weightlifting, hand archery, indoor rowing, Land Rover Driving Challenge, wheelchair basketball, wheelchair rugby, cycling, sitting volleyball, and swimming.

From fighting for their country to keeping their training going after two years of delay, these veterans came to win, connect, and compete. In between events, the Monster Team was able to speak with the legendary retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ross Alewine about his story and what the Invictus Games mean to him.  


“There’s so much that goes into the Invictus Games. It's so empowering for veterans who have been hurt and injured in their services for their country,” said Sgt. Ross Alewine at the beginning of our interview. “You know, we're competing against each other, and it gets intense, but at the end of the day, just being here with other countries and seeing your brothers and sisters in arms, it's so empowering.”


Alewine explains that the Invictus Games serve as a motivator to injured veterans, providing a purpose after their service. “I've seen it personally. It gets guys off the couch, it gets guys that are contemplating suicide something else to hold on to. If I can do this, you can do this.”


Alewine speaks from experience. After being injured in Afghanistan, he went through multiple surgeries at the Soldier Recovery Unit in Fort Belvoir. “While I was there, I was taking it easy, not really going out and doing anything. Like I said earlier, I was one of those guys in a real dark spot.” Although he didn’t know it yet, his life changed when a friend in passing asked him to play wheelchair basketball. “I said, ‘Nah, man.’ He said, ‘That’s cool man if you're scared.’ That kind of pissed me off, to be honest. So that day, I started wheelchair basketball.” From there, Alewine was told about the Invictus Games and how the US army had never won it. “So I was like, I'm gonna go win this thing.”


And that he did. Alewine was the Ultimate Champion for Team Army at the 2018 and 2019 Warrior Games and competed in the 2018 Invictus Games in Sydney, Australia. “After that, I was hooked. You know, it's the competition of sport, and being able to compete again, has saved my life. And when I say saved my life, I wouldn't be here today if it wasn't for that.”


It’s safe to say that Sgt. Ross Alewine gave it his all at the 2022 Invictus Games, after waiting two years due to COVID. “It's taken some resiliency for sure. I've been training six days a week two times a day for the last three years so, it's been crazy.” And he’s not just training in one sport. “I've done everything except for archery and the team sports. I box, lift, do cardio, swim, and cycle. I row all the time. It really just depends on the day.”


That training paid off, Alewine achieved seven medals in the 2022 games. “I've got four gold medals, one silver, and two bronze. Seven total, so I'm doing pretty good.” And he’s not stopping there, “I didn't know anything about rowing until I started, and I’m really, really good at it. That's what I'm hoping to go to the Paralympic level at is rowing.”


Sgt. Ross Alewine is an inspiration to all, and his level of motivation is one to be desired. His advice to those interested in adaptive sports or the Invictus Games is simple. “Just get off your butt and do it. A lot of guys think they don't deserve this or this is not for them, and I used to be the same guy, but get off your butt and do it. Once you get into it you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish. And the people that you inspire, it’s life-changing.”


As the week wraps up, the Invictus athletes from around the globe finished strong and came together after a long-awaited event. Sgt. Ross Alewine says it best, “the impact of these games here in The Hague will go on forever.”