A runner with the University of Oregon has made history, becoming the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike.
Justin Gallegos was told the exciting news after a recent practice when Nike’s insights director John Douglass surprised the runner, presenting him a three-year contract.
According to Running Magazine, Gallegos had leg braces and used a walker as a toddler and into his preschool years. It wasn’t until Grade 9 when he found his love of running, and was determined to follow in one of his coaches footsteps by attending the University of Oregon to study and compete in the school’s running club.
Last Saturday, Gallegos announced the signing on social media, which coincided with cerebral palsy awareness day.
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Today on world Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, I reached a milestone in my running journey! Today I made Nike history and became the very first athlete with Cerebral Palsy to sign a contract with Nike! 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! Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest! It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor! Hard work pays off! Hundreds of miles, blood, sweat, and tears has lead me here along with a few permanent scars! But the journey is damn sure not over!!! Looking back, I would guess there is only a few select people who would see me were I am today! I have gone through just about everything in the book to be where I am today! I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put on foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a contract with Nike Running! Trust the process! And most of all trust in God! God is good! Thank you to all my friends, family, and teammates on running club, and now a brand new atmosphere on teammates with Nike! This moment will live forever! Thank you everyone for helping show the world that there is No Such Thing As A Disability! #ProfessionalAthlete #SWOOSH #Nike72 #NikeTrackandField #NikeXC #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 Video Credits: @elevation0m
“This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running!” Gallegos wrote. “Growing up with a disability, the thought of becoming a professional athlete is as I have said before like the thought of climbing Mt. Everest!”
According to the magazine, Nike became aware of Gallegos when the runner was still in high school. The athletic company began to work with Gallegos to help develop a show for runners with disabilities.
“I was once a kid in leg braces who could barely put one foot in front of the other! Now I have signed a three year contract with Nike Running!” Gallegos wrote.
Gallegos’ goal is to break the two-hour mark in the half-marathon. In April, he completed his first half-marathon with a time of 2:03:49.
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