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Posted: October 13, 2018

Nike offers pro contract to Oregon runner with cerebral palsy

A runner from the University is the first athlete with cerebral palsy to receive a pro contract from Nike.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
A runner from the University is the first athlete with cerebral palsy to receive a pro contract from Nike.

By Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A runner at the University of Oregon became the first professional athlete with cerebral palsy to sign a contract with Nike, Sports Illustrated reported.

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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.

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!”

The video was released Oct. 6 to coincide with World Cerebral Palsy Day, Sports Illustrated reported.


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