Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

98. Kyle Shewfelt

Age: 26

Last September Kyle Shewfelt was in a wheelchair. A gold-medalist in Athens on the floor exercise, the Canadian gymnast broke both legs in August when he misjudged a landing in his floor routine. Getting to Beijing seemed excruciatingly unlikely. Slowly, however, Shewfelt began training again: first upper-body work at the gym; then, in January, some simple tumbling, cartwheels, handsprings, "things I did when I was six years old," he says today between training sessions in his hometown of Calgary. In June, Shewfelt says, he finally "started feeling like a gymnast again," able to execute the medal-worthy routines he expected of himself. And now he's aiming for the podium once again. "This time around," he says, "it's about more than the medal. It's about proving to myself that I have strength of character I never knew I had."