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A runner at the University of Oregon became the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike, Sports Illustrated reported.
Justin Gallegos, a 20-year-old junior, thought he was being filmed for completing a cross country race for the university’s running club last Saturday. Instead, cameras captured the moment as John Douglas, Nike’s Insights director, handed Gallegos a contract.
In a video that has since gone viral, Gallegos sinks to his knees in joy as his teammates applaud.
“You don’t realize how realistic and emotional your dreams are until they play out before your very eyes!” Gallegos wrote on Instagram.
Gallegos began running as a ninth-grader. One of his coaches had gone to the University of Oregon, so Gallegos decided to attend the school and join the running club, Running magazine reported.
Gallegos used a walker as a child and endured plenty of physical therapy to improve his walk, the magazine reported.
He was noticed by Nike when he attended high school in California, and he has helped the athletic retail giant develop a shoe for runners with disabilities, called the FlyEase, Running reported.
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I’m still at loss for words! Thank to everyone for the love and the support not only the past couple days but the last seven years of my life! Beyond blessed to officially represent the swoosh! Still can’t believe I made Nike history! Very excited! Big things are yet to come! Trust in the process! And trust in God! All glory to the most high! God is truly good! #NikeRunning #NIKE #SWOOSH #SwooshFamily #Beaverton #Nike72 #JustDoIt #ThereIsNoFinishLine #StrongerEveryMile #NoSuchThingAsADisability #Limitless #Breaking2
Gallego said he was stunned by the contract offer from Nike.
“I’m still at a loss for words,” Gallego wrote on Instagram. “Beyond blessed to officially represent the swoosh!”