Wheelz loses his teeth - no guts no glory!
Aaron Fotheringham is an extreme wheelchair athlete from Las Vegas, Nevada. Aaron was born with Spina Bifida without the use of his legs. Doctors told Aaron at a young age he wouldn't be able to do many things independently and would need assistance his whole life. This didn’t stop Aaron from doing what he wanted to do. As a young child he did everything kids his age did in a way that worked for him. He learned to roll over, sit up, and crawl at a normal rate, and days after getting his first “walker” he was up and running.
At the age of 8, the same year he began using a wheelchair full-time, Aaron began riding at skate parks. After weeks of watching his dad and older brother Brian have fun at the park from behind the fence, Aaron decided to join them after encouragement from his brother. Initially he was scared and fell, but as someone who always pushed the limitations of his disability, Aaron persisted, tried again, and was immediately hooked. After six months of hard training, he performed his first trick.
Today Aaron is a serious BMX competitor and has won several BMX freestyle competitions, including the 2005 Vegas AmJam BMX finals. However, for Aaron all of his accomplishments come second to the joy of riding and hanging out with friends at the skate parks.
Having raised money for Aaron’s first custom wheelchair, Aaron’s friends are at the heart and soul of his passion for BMX. Over the course of his career Aaron has pushed himself to accomplish progressively difficult tricks; carving, grinding, power-sliding, hand planting, and spinning to name a few.
In 2010 he landed the world’s first wheelchair double backflip, which earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World records and since has become a signature trick that he performs live. Aaron was thrust into the limelight after posting his “first ever backflip” in 2010 on the Internet and is now an internationally known sports figure, performing in the opening ceremony of the 2016 Special Olympics.
Aaron’s fame has allowed him to change the way the world perceives people in wheelchairs and the way people view their own challenges. Aaron teaches children to use their wheelchairs as recreational equipment and to stop viewing them as a restriction.
In Aarons words, “your disability is mostly in your head—you’re only as disabled as you feel.” Having inspired millions, Aaron’s story appeals to all. Aaron plans to design “the most wicked” chair in the world someday.
We were mesmerised by this footage below, where Fotheringham stops by "Dreamland" to skate the MegaRamp with Bob Burnquist. With a wheelchair not properly equipped for the elements the MegaRamp presents, Wheelz is forced whether to give up or push himself over the ledge one more time. He loses some teeth along the way...but lives by his motto "No Guts No Glory!''
So what do Aaron's parents think of all this?
One can only wonder what it was like to parent a child like Aaron. He was adopted at birth, and grew up in Las Vegas, USA, with five other adopted siblings. “Aaron defeated all the odds, and embraced his disability in a unique way”, said his Dad, Steve. His advice to parents? “Let your kids take risks. Aaron never did a trick he wasn’t ready for. He knew his limits, and progressively challenged himself to try new things. When we saw him at the top of the 50-foot Mega Ramp, we were not scared. We knew he was ready.”
Since he is the first athlete of his kind, Aaron does not have a coach. “Nobody has done what I do before me. My friends who are professional BMX athletes give me advice, but they don’t really know how to do the tricks with a wheelchair. I have to figure it out on my own. It takes a lot of practice”, he said.
Comments from his fans:
"For all of the people who think he should not be doing this, I myself was also born with Spina Bifida as well. When you have doctors all of your life, and some of your loved ones as well, telling you what you can and cannot do, it drives you to do the opposite. This man is literally defying every single thing the world is telling him not to do, which is MUCH more than a lot of people will ever achieve in their own lives. ""
If you are looking for more footage of Aaron: