EUGENE, Oregon — When Justin Gallegos learned he was getting a professional contract with Nike, he fell to the ground in tears.
Gallegos, who runs at the University of Oregon, became the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign an endorsement deal with Nike.
He got the news last Saturday, which happened to be “World Cerebral Palsy Day.”
John Douglass from Nike showed up after a race to surprise Gallegos with the contract.
Nike hired Elevation 0m, a digital media company, to capture the moment.
Gallegos posted about it on his Instagram page.
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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
“You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes!” Gallegos wrote on Instagram. “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!”
“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!” he wrote.
Gallegos has had an ongoing relationship with Nike. He helped design the Nike Flyease. On its website, Nike says the shoe is “designed for athletes of all abilities and ages.”
It features a “zipper-and-strap system to help you get your shoes on and off quickly and easily.”
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Today I saw the Nike Flyease on the shelves for the very first time! Looking at this shoe knowing that it is on Nike shelves all across the country is an amazing feeling. Looking at these shoes knowing that I was a part of the process to help get them to the shelves is truly a priceless feeling. Working with Nike on this shoe for the past two years has been so much fun! But the journey has only just begun! Very excited to see what the next few years have in store for me with Nike! Very thankful to rep the swoosh!! And very thankful to a part of the Flyease story!! To learn more about the Nike Flyease go to Nike.com #Xendurance #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #NikeRunning #Limitless #Breaking2 #Flyease #FlyeaseMentality #EQUALITY #SWOOSH #Nike
Gallegos is from Santa Clarita, California. KCBS spoke with his parents.
“There’s been many moments along his story where he surprises us and these great things happen,” Brent Gallegos, Justin’s father, told KCBS.
“He’s worked very hard for it and when he sets his goals he sets them very high. He says I make my goals very high and so scary that I have to go for them,” Tracy Gallegos, Justin’s mother, said.
Justin’s parents said they’ve never seen their son as emotional as he was when he got the news.
Justin told KCBS he’s still in shock about what happened.
“You don’t have to let your disability or physical impairment stop you,” he said.