Nike has been making news lately, mostly because of their 30th anniversary campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Refusing to bow down to pressure, the corporation headed up its ‘Just Do It’ campaign with the athlete, who knelt during the national anthem in the 2016 NFL season to protest racial injustice.
Nike justified its actions, telling ESPN Kaepernick ‘is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation’.
Their share price reached an all-time high and online sales grew 31 per cent as a result.
And it looks like the company is continuing to spread its positive message and strive to inspire others, as they have signed their first professional athlete with Cerebral Palsy.
Justin Gallegos, a student at the University of Oregon, was surprised with a contract from Nike on World Cerebral Palsy Day, October 6.
He believed he was simply competing in a cross country race, but was not aware that the cameras filming him were there to capture his reaction when he was given the news.
You can watch the moment he finds out below:
The video shows Justin falling to the ground after he receives the news, with his head in his hands as he processes everything.
The young athlete took to Instagram to describe the moment he found out:
You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes! Signing this contract was a huge success for me and I would not have made it without my friends and family and teammates! This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running!
He went on to describe how the thought of becoming a professional athlete when he was younger was ‘like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest’.
Growing up with Cerebral Palsy meant Justin had little control over his muscles and body coordination, but he was determined to fulfil his dreams of being an athlete.
Gallegos told Fast Company how he got into running in high school:
I wanted to take part in an after-school activity just like everyone else. And eventually, by repeating the running motion over and over, I trained my body to run.
Fast forward a few years and Justin became a member of the track club at the University of Oregon, before ultimately he was signed by Nike. An undeniably impressive feat, and one that I – someone who can’t even run for 10 minutes on the treadmill without getting out of breath – seriously admire.
Nike had been closely following Justin’s journey and knew about his intentions to compete in a half marathon last year. Researchers from Nike then created the perfect running shoe for him – the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 FlyEase.
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In honor of the Pegasus 35s being released last week, thought I’d keep the hype going and say that Pegasus 35s Flyease are also coming out very soon to Nike shelves across the country. I am very thankful to be a part of such a groundbreaking project that will revolutionize the athletic world and beyond! Words can’t describe the feeling knowing I have helped @nikerunning create something that will change the way people go about their day to day routine! I can’t wait for this shoe to be released this summer and have everyone finally have the flyease experience! It is an overwhelming feeling of excitement knowing I helped make this shoe a reality! Very blessed and thankful to be a part of the Nike running crew! Thank you to all who support me and my journey! But this is only the beginning all across the board! Looking forward to getting started on the next new and exciting project! And looking forward to lacing up for cross country and my next half marathon! First generations of Flyease are available at Nike.com #NikeRunning #Nike #Flyease #Pegasas35 #FlyeaseMentality #NoSuchThingAsADisability #StrongerEveryMile
So what’s next for Justin now he’s made history by becoming Nike’s first professional athlete with Cerebral Palsy?
Big things, that’s for sure. He expressed his excitement on Instagram, hinting at things to come:
I’m still at loss for words! Thank to everyone for the love and the support not only the past couple days but the last seven years of my life! Beyond blessed to officially represent the swoosh! Still can’t believe I made Nike history! Very excited! Big things are yet to come! Trust in the process! And trust in God! All glory to the most high! God is truly good!
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I’m still at loss for words! Thank to everyone for the love and the support not only the past couple days but the last seven years of my life! Beyond blessed to officially represent the swoosh! Still can’t believe I made Nike history! Very excited! Big things are yet to come! Trust in the process! And trust in God! All glory to the most high! God is truly good! #NikeRunning #NIKE #SWOOSH #SwooshFamily #Beaverton #Nike72 #JustDoIt #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #Limitless #Breaking2
Truly inspirational, and it just goes to show that anything is possible. Let’s hope Nike continues to be a role model for young people everywhere, and I wish Justin every luck with his career.
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