Gary Logan was working as an agricultural engineer when he had a life-changing accident. He fell 25ft from a ladder and broke his back. A chance meeting with a wheelchair fitter turned his life around and now he is representing Scotland at a World Championships.
“It was about 10 years ago that I got involved with curling," he recalls. "It was the guy I bought my wheelchair from. He was going to Kelso and obviously knew where I lived so he just came and chapped on my door and said: ‘we’re going curling, do you fancy coming?’. I said: ‘Curling? That’s an old man’s sport, isn’t it?’ But I went up to Kelso and I just totally loved it.”
Gary was instrumental in setting up a team called Northern Ice, based in Kelso, and spent as much time fundraising as he did curling to enable them to compete. Sometimes this consisted of waiting outside B&Q with a collection bucket. He then joined Scotland’s development squad and was selected five months ago to the top squad, where he receives support from Scottish Curling, British Curling and the sportscotland institute of sport – a far cry from shaking buckets outside shops.
As part of the curling programme Gary now has access to specialist services from the world-class practitioners at the sportscotland institute of sport.
“Having that range of services available since I joined the programme, from medical, physio and nutrition and going to the gym, has really made a difference," he says.
"To think that everything’s just there for you. If you need a doctor, you just pick up the phone, if you need a physio it's the same. I couldn’t ask for more, to be honest. It’s hard to get it into your head that everything’s just there for you at the end of a phone. It’s excellent, really good support."
For a man who worked seven days a week, sometime 12 to 14 hours a day, sport was not a priority so the transition to athlete has been genuinely life-changing.
“I had done clay-pigeon shooting and things with friends, but that’s all I’d really done before my accident," he says.
"My life was work. Now it’s totally different.
"It’s just full on. You’re up here [in Stirling] every other week doing four days, 12 hours a day. Then you’ve got your home training as well, which is the gym and more curling. I hadn’t done any other sport before so it’s all brand new and I love it.”
Selection for Scotland
Gary is competing this week alongside Paralympians Aileen Neilson, Robert McPherson and Hugh Nibloe, as well as another new cap, David Melrose, as Stirling hosts the Wheelchair Curling World Championships.
“It feels great, an absolute privilege," he says. "Just getting that phone call - they said ‘I’m pleased to say you’ve been picked for the Worlds’ and I was like ‘sorry?’ Afterwards I didn’t know what to do with myself, it was just a total adrenaline rush, my first cap. I couldn’t express the feelings, it was absolutely fantastic.”
The big ambition
Having made his Scotland debut, Gary now has his sights set on selection for Team GB.
“The ambition’s the Paralympics, basically. That’s what I’ve got to look forward to, and this is the first step," he says.
"There are very exciting times ahead, I can’t wait.”