Ewa Mataya Laurance, The Striking Viking, Professional Pool Player
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
, Sports Illustrated
for Women, Cigar Aficionado, and Glamour Magazine.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
currently resides in Myrtle Beach, SC with her
husband Mitch, daughter Nikki and their menagerie of dogs, cats and horses.