Wheelchair athlete makes history with 50-foot MegaRamp jump

Lots of history has been made on the MegaRamp, mostly by skateboarders, for whom the daunting apparatus was unveiled a decade ago. This was in the form of first-ever tricks, youngest-to-perform-tricks, and so forth. But during a weekend exhibition in Brazil, Aaron Fotheringham, who has no use of his legs, sped down the MegaRamp’s towering ramp in a wheelchair, soared artfully but nervously across a 50-foot gap, and negotiated an incredibly smooth landing, drawing raucous applause from about 10,000 fans.

The MegaRamp, however, is not finished with athletes after the gap. The down-sloped landing leads to a vertical quarterpipe wall, which sends athletes airborne anew. Fotheringham, 21, who was born with a birth defect known as Spina Bifida, nearly stuck his landing on the quarterpipe, too, but lost balance and tipped and spilled down the smooth surface to the flat area below. (It’s worth noting that this happens on more than 80 percent of MegaRamp runs by able-bodied skaters and BMXers. Completing an entire run on the MegaRamp is that difficult.)

“Wheelz” Fotheringham, a wheelchair motocross athlete from Las Vegas, had made a special kind of history merely by clearing the gap and sticking the landing, on a big-air device that to this day is attempted only by a brave few top-level action sports athletes.

Inspirational? In the video Fotheringham admits to being nervous before and even during his run. But after all, he’s only human.

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