Winning ways: have you got what it takes to be the best, no matter what?

The Combined Services Disabled Ski Team have – and they've achieved everything against the odds
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The Independent Online

The countdown has begun: in close to 1000 days, the world’s greatest sporting spectacle comes to the UK. The London 2012 Paralympic Games will be a chance for the best sportsmen and women with a disability to shine – and to celebrate, British Airways, the official airline partner of the London 2012 Games, has launched a competition called Great Britons to find and reward UK residents who are the best in their field.

One group of winners are the Combined Services Disabled Ski Team, made up of Capt Martin Hewitt, Para, Sgt Mark Hutchinson, Royal Signals, Sgt Mick Brennan, Royal Signals, and Trooper Stevie Shine, Royal Tank Regiment, who are trying to qualify for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games in Russia.

Each team member has lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan, or suffered a traumatic non-battlefield injury. “All the members of the team have suffered horrific injuries,” says their Chairman, Colonel David Eadie, “and their progress to recovery has been an enormously painful journey.

“After rehabilitation, they’ve had to learn to ski, a process in which falling over is infinitely more painful than for an able-bodied skier. In order to be able to race at their current, competitive level, they’ve had to push themselves to an extraordinary extent. They’ve broken their good limbs and, in some cases, aggravated their original wounds, but their burning desire to prove themselves, to reach for a normal life and, ultimately, to win, is what drives them forward.”

The Great Britons judges – and the voting public – were impressed by the ski team’s amazing determination and they have won flights to Europe to train for the International races to qualify for the 2014 Paralympic Games. Good luck to them all!

Great Britons: The search is on Are you a Great Briton? Are you determined, competitive and courageous enough to follow your dreams? If you have a burning desire to visit a place that could advance your career, this could be your chance to get there. British Airways is looking for talented individuals and groups who epitomise the values of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and who strive to be the best, whatever their passion is. The Great Britons competition is open to everyone aged 16 and over and resident in the UK who needs support to develop their talent in their chosen field. The categories are sport, art and design, fashion, performing arts, and community, and the winners get free flights to British Airways destinations, including use of BA’s luxury Executive Club lounges. They also get a winner’s pack, which includes a camcorder so they can record their amazing journey.

If you think you have what it takes to be a Great Briton, tell us your story and apply now at