A US college student has made history for being the first athlete with cerebral palsy to be offered a professional contract from Nike.
Justin Gallegos was born with the disorder and has little control over his muscles and body coordination, but that hasn’t stopped him from pursuing his dream of being a long-distance runner.
Nike were aware of the 20-year-old’s inspiring story and helped him achieve his goal of running a two-hour half-marathon in April this year by creating a specially designed shoe for him to run in called the ‘Air Zoom Pegasus 35 FlyEase’, which supports his unique running style.
On October 6th, which coincides with Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, Nike surprised Gallegos by turning up to the finish line of one of his college races and offering him a pro contract.
The University of Oregon track club member was under the impression the camera crew were there just to film the race, so his reaction to Nike’s insights director John Douglass’ news makes for a heart-warming video as he breaks down in tears in front of the other athletes who applaud him.
Gallegos spoke out about his history-making agreement via his Instagram, where he goes by the name, ‘Zoommagic’.
“Today on world Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I reached a milestone in my running journey,” Gallegos wrote in a post which has attracted 2500 likes.
“You don’t realise how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes.
Nike have also been in the spotlight this week after featuring an 81-year-old marathon runner in their most recent online ad campaign titled “Late Bloomer.”