Gregg Stevenson named male Athletes’ Athlete of the Year 2023

Having been nominated by a teammate, Gregg then topped a vote of Britain’s current and former World Class Programme athletes to decide their Athlete of the Year


Gregg only joined the GB Para-Rowing Team in 2023 but won the PR2 Mixed Double Sculls with Lauren Rowles at the 2023 European Rowing Championships in his first international regatta.

They then became World champions just a year after forming the crew. Lauren tempted Gregg back to the sport he had previously left behind in 2018. When he returned he balanced training and competition with existing work commitments, studying for a master’s degree, and having two young children.

Gregg said of his spectacular year: “It was eight years of work before… but it felt break-neck speed to me at points! Before I knew it I was sat on the start line at the European Championships, my first official race in GB colours. I was like: ‘How am I here?!’ It was pretty daunting. Everyone was laughing at me because I hardly slept the night before and looked like a zombie! I was so nervous. But I think it’s testament to that eight years of hard training that built up to it.”

His nominator said: “His personality and attitude towards training are infectious and I think he has been a breath of fresh air.”

But Gregg’s remarkable story goes back much further than 2022. A former Royal Engineer, he lost both legs in an IED (improvised explosive device) blast in Afghanistan in 2009.

He learned to walk with prosthetics, but three years later was discharged from the military as he struggled to adjust to life. Gregg openly discusses his difficulty during that period, but managed to overcome it through a mixture of exercise and work. He became a qualified mental health practitioner and came close to making GB’s para-rowing team for the 2016 Paralympics.

Gregg retired from rowing around 2018 but sustained his fitness and competitive drive, allowing him to get back on the water swiftly and successfully in summer 2022. Within months he was named on the World Class Programme, and by September had become European champion, World champion, and received a distinction for his degree.

Watch Gregg’s journey here:

2023 was a year to be proud of for wider elite British sport too, with athletes excelling in and out of competition, breaking new records, overcoming personal adversity, and using their positions to better the sporting world. Nominations were made not just for competitive success, but also for those athletes who supported or inspired others in elite sport throughout the year.

We’d therefore like to congratulate Gregg and paracyclist Fran Brown (the female Athletes’ Athlete of the Year) on winning this award, but also their fellow nominees: Joe Clarke (canoeing), Emma Finucane (cycling), Jessica Gadirova (gymnastics), Chris Hunt Skelley (para-judo), Beth Potter (triathlon), Shah Rashid (wheelchair fencing), Lucy Renshall (judo), Matt Richards (swimming), Bradly Sinden (taekwondo) and Maisie Summers-Newton (para-swimming).

About the Athletes’ Athlete of the Year award and the British Elite Athletes Association (BEAA)

The Athletes’ Athlete of the Year award is voted for by BEAA members past and present, elite British athletes currently or formerly in receipt of World Class Programme funding. Roughly 1,100 current athletes were eligible to vote, with over 300 former athletes contacted.

Current and former athletes were able to nominate their longlist between November 29th-December 12th. These nominations were then shortlisted to 12 by BEAA CEO Anna Watkins OLY. Voting for the winners took place between 14 December 2023 and 4 January 2024.

As the representative body for elite British athletes across over 40 sports, the BEAA provides independent support, representation and community to its World Class Programme members.

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