After putting the spotlight on an 81-year-old marathon runner with an inspirational short film, Nike continues to spread its positive and motivating outlook by presenting Justin Gallegos, a student at the University of Oregon, with a professional contract.
Gallegos was born with cerebral palsy, which means he has little control over his muscles and body coordination, and he becomes the first Nike-sponsored athlete with the congenital disorder. Nike had been closely following Gallegos’s journey as a member of the track club at the University of Oregon, and this past spring, Gallegos completed a half marathon, as the Swoosh helped him participate in the event by creating his dream shoe with the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 FlyEase.
In two posts via Instagram, Justin Gallegos revealed the historic moment in a lengthy statement, accompanied with the corresponding video which features the Insights Director for Nike handing Justin his three-year contract with Nike Running.
“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!” Gallegos wrote. “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!!!”
You can read the entire statement in the post below.
For more on the Swoosh, Phil Knight donates $1 billion worth of Nike shares to charity.