Olympic Rower’s Hands Get Absolutely Ravaged During World Record-setting Arctic Expedition

Photo: Gnarly, Gross, Blistered Hands After Arctic Rowing Expedition (Alex Gregory)
 Courtesy Alex Gregory (@AlexGregoryGB)

Even the toughest, most elite athletes in the world aren’t immune to Mother Nature’s wrath.

Just ask Alex Gregory. Or rather, look at his hands.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time world champion rower for Great Britain, along with a team of five other top-notch rowers from around the world, embarked on an expedition coined The Polar Row. The journey led them through the Arctic Ocean, and was aimed at breaking 12 world records while raising money for a school in the Himalayas.

The mission, which they were ultimately unable to complete, made headlines not only for its high degree of difficulty, but also thanks to a gnarly photo Gregory posted on social media—of his insanely pruney, shriveled hands.

I always felt I had to concentrate hard to be ready for what was coming towards us. Every now and then we'd get a wave that we hadn't seen coming from a random direction that would shock us, but we could mostly watch and predict what was coming. Here me, Sam Vye and Tyler Carnevale are rowing in the cold rough wet conditions we encountered for many days…normally in rowing we say eyes in the boat, here it was all about eyes out of the boat!! * * #polarrow #oceanrowing #rowinglife #waves #wind #rough #rowing #recovery #focus #endurance #24hourdaylight #arcticadventures #arcticcircle #whitehorses #rowingboat #adventure #adventuretime #explorer #explore #exploring #oceanview #oceanair #row #roughsea #survival #crewlife

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The team broke 11 out of the 12 records during its month-and-a-half-long journey before harrowing weather and technical issues forced the group to abandon ship and seek refuge on the remote Norwegian island of Jan Mayen.

The crew was stranded on the island for 15 days, during which Gregory’s hands were able to heal.