October 25, 2018
Justin Gallegos Named First Nike Athlete With Cerebral Palsy
Justin Gallegos has become the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike. Gallegos, a junior at Oregon University, was surprised by Nike and a camera crew, at the end of his Cross Country meet with the big news. Above is a video with is reaction.
After the emotional day Gallegos took to Instagram to say, "You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes!" He added, “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!”
An article in Running Magazine said that when Gallegos was younger he first learned to walk with a walker. Through physical therapy, he improved his stride and was slowly was able to walk and then run on his own.
Nike first heard about Gallegos’ story when he was in high school. They worked with him to create shoes for runners with disabilities, calling them FlyEase. The FlyEase shoe has a zipper on the heel making them easier to put on and off.
Ever since high school his goal has been to break the 2-hour mark in a half marathon. In April he completed his first half marathon in 2:03:49. In September he ran in his second half marathon.
Although Gallegos has made history as the first Nike runner with cerebral palsy, he is just a Nike athlete in Nike's eyes.