In September 2019, Pete Reed had just retired from full-time rowing to return to the Royal Navy. One of Great Britain’s most decorated Olympians, he won gold in three consecutive Olympics and was famous in testing for having the world’s largest recorded lung capacity.
During naval training, Reed started to feel ill and went to the hospital where he suffered a stroke in the middle of his spine. The condition is extremely rare and doctors are unsure what caused it. It left Reed paralyzed from the chest down. The Olympian was determined to make the best possible recovery.
The first step was to enter rehab, where Reed started to gain back his strength. One of the tools in his pocket?: the SkiErg. “Getting settled into rehab, I knew that I wanted to try the SkiErg,” Reed says. “There were a few reasons. I knew the movement pattern, I knew that I could do it. It's important to me that it's very accessible, so it's easy to just roll up to it, in my wheelchair and then just grab the handles and off I go.” It is hard to take the athlete out of someone like Reed, and accordingly, he made himself a plan. He started in small increments.