For Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham, there is no obstacle great enough.
Born with spina bifida—a birth defect of the spinal cord—the 29-year-old Fotheringham has long been driven by passion. As an extreme wheelchair athlete from the United States, Fotheringham was already displaying sheer determination at an early age. He first dropped in while on a wheelchair when he was eight, after his brother asked him to try it. As with many first-time moments, it was rough: Fotheringham, in an interview with Mpora, recalled: “My dad was there and he gave me the thumbs up, so they helped me get my chair up a four-foot quarter pipe,” he said. “Then I dropped in, and just fell. Multiple times. Then, finally, I rode away from one of them and was hooked right then.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Fotheringham then entered and won several BMX Freestyle competitions, including the 2005 Vegas AmJam BMX Finals. Fueled by a strong desire to challenge himself more, he began pioneering difficult stunts. In July 2006, he was able to land the first wheelchair backflip. Two years later, he put his name on the Guinness World Records for the same stunt. In 2010, he set the bar even higher, landing the very first double backflip as a result. A year later, Fotheringham landed his very first front flip in New Zealand. In 2012, he landed a 50-feet gap off a ramp. He executed the first wheelchair flair/180 backflip. A highly decorated athlete, Fotheringham is a four-time winner of the WCMX World Championships, accomplished seven world records, has a global following, and has become a great inspiration to many.
Fotheringham’s many successes have been celebrated by countless of supporters all over the world. “It’s definitely cool to have the opportunity to influence people and to pump them up,” he told Mporo. “I’m just chasing my dreams, that childhood dream of being a pro athlete, and it’s cool that I’m able to have a positive impact along the way.”
Watch the video below to see Aaron in action.