A new video shows Justin Gallegos getting the surprise of a lifetime as he becomes the first Nike athlete with cerebral palsy. Gallegos, a junior at the University of Oregon and a member of the school’s running club, was met by a camera crew and Nike’s Insight Director at the end of a recent cross-country race, where he broke down in tears when presented with his Nike contract. On Oct. 6, Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day, Gallegos posted the video on Instagram to announce his new role. “This was perhaps the most emotional moment in my seven years of running,” he 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! It is definitely possible, but the odds are most definitely not in your favor!” Gallegos worked with Nike on its Breaking2 campaign as he aimed to finish a half-marathon in under two hours; he is also working with the company on a running shoe featuring a zipper-and-strap system that is helpful for runners with disabilities. Cerebral palsy is a neurological disorder affecting movement, motor skills and muscle tone. In a May press release, Nike said Gallegos started running as a freshman in high school in Santa Clarita, Calif., and that he is “one of a few able-bodied runners in the world with cerebral palsy to complete a half-marathon unassisted.” His contract with Nike is for three years.
Photo credit: nike.com