Billiards Celebrity Profile: Ewa Laurance – The Striking Viking

Article by Tyler Bastianelli
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Ewa Laurance Hall of Fame Pool Player

Ewa Laurance will be attending the Grand Opening of Brunswick Biliards at the Leisure Fitness – Tysons Corner location on November 2nd, 2013!

Ewa Mataya Laurance is one of the most visible superstars in the history of pocket billiards. Known as The Striking Viking, she took the billiard world by storm since she moved to the US from her native Sweden.

Following her childhood dream of becoming the best in the world, she continues to be a dominant presence on the international billiard scene.
Ewa is:

  • The current International and World Cup Trick Shot Champion
  • The holder of multiple World and US Open 9-ball titles
  • Winner of the Swedish, European and US National Championships
  • Former # 1 ranked player in the world
  • Has received Player of the Year honors
  • Named WPBA Sportsperson of the Year
  • 2004 – ├é┬áinducted into the prestigious Billiard Congress of America Hall of Fame.

This dynamic champion made an historic appearance on the cover of the New York Times Magazine and has been featured in numerous national publications, including People Magazine, Sports Illustrated, Forbes, Glamour, Golf for Women and Cigar Aficionado. Ewa is also a frequent guest on television shows such as Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show, The Early Show, Current Affair, LIVE with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight and The Best Damned Sports Show, Period.

When not competing, Ewa serves as the ESPN Color Commentator. She also co-hosted GSN’s popular game show “Ball Breakers.”

Ewa is on the Board of Trustees of the Billiard Education Foundation and the South Carolina chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She is a frequent participant at various celebrity golf tournaments around the country. On tour, Ewa is sponsored by Brunswick Billiards.

Ewa Mataya Laurance has fashioned one of the great careers in the history of pocket billiards. The first truly international superstar in the sport, The Striking Viking brought media attention and focus to the game in a way no one before ever had, and continues to this day to embody the best competitive and entertainment aspects of the sport she loves.

Ewa started playing pocket billiards in her native town of Gavle, Sweden at the age of 14, after following her older brother Mats into the local billiard room. She fell instantly in love with the game and practiced six to ten hours per day, doing her school homework between shots. Excelling at a rapid pace, Ewa went on to compete in her first major tournament that same year, where she finished in fourth place. The following year she captured her first Swedish 9-ball title, and two years later, after having qualified to play in the European Championship by winning the Swedish 14.1 Championship, she was crowned European Champion in Bern, Switzerland. As a result Ewa was asked to represent Europe at the World Championships in New York City.

With a dream of becoming a professional pool player, the 17-year old made the decision to stay and make the United States her home. Since then, she has not only been successfully competing on the Women’s Professional Tour, with consecutive years as the #1-ranked player in the world, but has also become widely recognized as one of the great international ambassadors for the sport, promoting pocket billiards worldwide.

Ewa’s 1992 appearance in a cover article in the New York Times Magazine brought an onslaught of media attention that catapulted her, along with women’s billiards in general, into the national spotlight. Over the years, she has also been prominently featured in a number of other national magazines, such as People Magazine, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, Golf for Women, Cigar Aficionado, and Glamour Magazine. She has appeared on numerous television shows, including Late Night with David Letterman, The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Entertainment Tonight, The Best Damned Sports Show Period, A Current Affair, Fox and Friends, Cold Pizza and Dennis Miller, and has starred in national commercials for Brunswick Billiards and “No Nonsense Pantyhose.”

Ewa is a two time Player- of- the- Year, a recipient of the “WPBA Sportsperson of the Year Award,” “The WPBA PR Award” and the “Billiard and Bowling Institute of America Industry Service Award.” She was instrumental in launching the WPBA Classic Tour, and has spent numerous terms as a member of the Women’s Professional Billiard Association Board of Directors, including three terms as President, working to organize and promote women’s pocket billiards. Ewa writes a monthly column for “Pool and Billiard Magazine,” and is the author of three of the sport’s most popular books, “The Ewa Mataya Pool Guide,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Pool and Billiards,” and most recently, “Quick-Start Guide to Pocket Billiards.”

When not playing, Ewa is the Color Commentator for ESPN Championship Billiards and recently hosted GSN’s billiards game show “BallBreakers.” She has been sponsored on Tour by legendary Brunswick Billiards since 1988, and continues to be their Professional Player Representative and Spokesperson.

Besides playing on the WPBA 9-Ball Tour, Ewa is the current International Trick Shot Champion, a member of the championship World Cup of Trick Shots team, and is known as the world’s premier female trick shot artist. She spends a great deal of the year performing trick shot exhibitions across the U.S. and around the world. An avid golfer, Ewa can also be seen at numerous celebrity golf charity events around the country.

Ewa currently resides in Myrtle Beach, SC with her husband Mitch, daughter Nikki and their menagerie of dogs, cats and horses.

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