The Olympic hopefuls for the U.S. Track & Field trials have been lining up to take their best chance at making it to London. But no one has worked harder to make his Olympic dream come true than one young man out of California.
While walking home from a party one night in 2008, Bryshon Nellum was shot three times in both thighs and his hamstring by gang members. The men who shot him were brought to justice and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison, but Nellum’s life was forever changed and his dreams damaged beyond repair.
Doctors told the legendary runner that he he would never reach the “world-class potential” he showed in high school when he became “the first runner in 91 years to win four titles at the California state championships.”
But Nellum came to the Men’s 400m at the U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials like the bionic man…much faster, much stronger. He snatched the final spot to make it exactly to the world-class level. He came in third place behind 2008 Olympic gold medalist Lashawn Merritt, 27, and the second fastest runner in the country Tony McQuay, 23. He came back to the track with a vengeance.
His USC teammate, Josh Mance, that he edged out for the last spot told NBC Olympics:
“Of everybody at the Olympic Trials, he has the best story, the most inspirational,” Mance, who ran 44.88, said. “He should be the headliner of this whole meet. No track athlete gets shot with a shotgun and has three bullets go through both legs and is still out there running 44.8s. He’s a blessing.”
Yes! We were thinking the same thing. He told reporters that he never stopped asking, “Why me?” He attended the trial for the gunmen that shot him, Travon Reed and Horasio Kimbrough, to find out why they singled him out. But no matter what, he was determined to not only walk again, but make it to this very moment.
“I was running for a while in practice on one leg,” he said. “I was like a baby. I had to learn how to crawl before I learned how to walk before I learned how to run. I had a lot of rough times. It was hard coming back. I just kept my faith in God and took things day by day. I stayed consistent and I stayed dedicated.”
Well we dedicate this song to you Bryshon Nellum. You are indeed a fighter and role model. Congratulations! Read more of his story and see the race here.