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My lemon was (seemingly) losing the ability to walk secondary to hitting the ground at 100 mph while skydiving. My lemonade is finding a bigger purpose to motivate others to do the unthinkable.
I have been a professional fitness trainer since 1985, an international motivational speaker and world-class athlete for 17 years. I am also one of the founders of Team Beachbody (P90X, Insanity, 21 Day Fix, Shakeology).
My desire is to empower people. I want others to realize that it doesn’t take a seemingly tragic episode to positively impact your life. My hope is that I can demonstrate how this is possible.
Since I hit the ground while skydiving, I have been in (and out) of a wheelchair. I think it would be safe to say that it does not stop me from living life. Many who have experienced serious accidents often speak of their lives as if it occurred in two parts, the “before” and “after”. As a personal trainer, marathon runner and skydiver, I prefer to describe my “previous life” as one lived with reckless abandon. My first love always being the thrill of a challenge. Unfortunately, no challenge would prove greater than on May 24, 1997, when I was left paralyzed from the waist down.
This accident brought me (literally) to the brink of death, and yet I returned with the gift of inspiration. An avid skydiver, I was well trained, experienced and fiercely competitive. On that fated day in May, I attempted to race my fellow skydiver to the ground and purposely closed my end cells, ultimately collapsing my entire canopy and plummeted to the ground from 1200 feet.
With multiple life-threatening injuries, I slipped in and out of a drug-induced coma for one month. As doctor’s made grim predictions that I would never breath on my own, speak, or walk again, my friends and family prepared for what seemed like the inevitable. Into my second month of hospitalization, I experienced a spiritual and emotional epiphany that I attribute to my mother, Lynn, who visited me everyday.
I extraordinarily began to regain my mental and physical abilities. Doctors described my recuperation as nothing short of miraculous. I was released after 2 1/2 months and returned to my personal training clientele the very next day. I have never looked back.
I’ve learned to appreciate all that I have, and all the things I used to take for granted, like taking a breath on my own. Every morning when I wake, I say thank you.
Now, I share my life experiences all over the world as a motivational speaker at local high schools, grade schools, business luncheons, church groups, community events and correctional facilities.
In addition to public speaking, my injuries did not prevent me from returning to competitive sports.
With borrowed racing equipment, I began competing as a wheelchair athlete in the 1998 Los Angeles Marathon. I have since competed in nearly three-dozen triathlons, over two dozen marathons and countless biathlons, duathlons, 5K and 10K races. In Colorado, I relearned downhill skiing as a disabled skier in the Hartford Ski Spectacular. June 7, 1999 marked the successful completion of my participation in the 56-day, 3600-mile Transcontinental Triathlon from Santa Barbara to NYC.
In 1998, I also became an avid triathlete, and was the only wheelchair triathlete in California at that time. In fact, I was selected as one of only two wheelchair athletes to represent the United States in the 2002 World Triathlon Championships in Cancun, Mexico.
Since that time I have participated in several hundred races in 18 different countries and been to 8 world triathlon championships. I also trained for the US Cycling Team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs in September, 2010.
I have spoken to and impacted the lives of many high school students at Monroe High School in North Hills, California, through a program appropriately named Goal Models, where I deliver my message of overcoming adversity and facing challenges. I believe that today’s children are tomorrow’s future.
Here are some videos of me.
Jeremy Newman BNN
New Zealand SIT
Jeremy Newman Malibu 2005
New Zealand TV1