Jamie Nieto knows what it’s like to be on top of the world. He’s won four U.S. championships in the high jump, and participated in two Olympics. He often celebrated his competitions by performing a backflip -- his signature move.
Last year, however, while coaching four Olympic hopefuls, the 39-year-old injured himself doing what he had done thousands of times before: His foot slipped as he performed a backflip and he landed on his head.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the freak accident required a five-hour surgery, and doctors weren’t certain he would ever walk again. He was partially paralyzed from the neck down.
After his initial discouragement, he felt a twitch in his finger three weeks after the accident. His Olympic determination swelled, and by the end of the day, was able to move all 10 of his fingers.
A few days after leaving the hospital, Nieto made a promise on Facebook, “I'm going to Walk again, I'm going to Run again, I have the Fight of an Olympian.”
After a year of intense rehab at Project Walk, he is able to do just that. At first he could only walk three steps by himself; now he is up to 80.
But he is determined to reach his goal of 150 steps next month. That is the number of steps it will take to walk to and from the altar to marry his fiancee, Shevon Stoddart. She’s a two-time Olympian herself, and the woman who has been by his side every step of the way.
Watch the video to see how this Olympian’s spirit can’t be stopped.