When it comes to World Firsts, this one is going to be tough to beat. On Oct. 14 in Toronto, Bruce Cook became the first paraplegic athlete to successfully backflip a motorcycle. The trick went down at a Nitro Circus show during the second leg of our 2015 North American tour. It was the culmination of a lot of hard work and required amazing dedication, in addition to some ingenuity and pure fearlessness.
It came full circle in more ways than one. Cook’s previous attempt at a World First was what cost him the use of his legs. It was January 2014 during a Nitro show in Hamilton, which is fittingly near Toronto in Canada, his home crowd. The 26-year-old was trying to become the first athlete to land a double frontflip on a motorcycle. He didn’t quite get the bike around, resulting in a hard crash that broke one of his vertebrae. He was rushed to the hospital and underwent surgery, but ultimately doctors couldn’t repair his damaged spinal cord.
But the resilient Cook found a way to keep riding FMX, and he wasn’t about to let that be his last World First attempt. A mere 10 months after his life-altering accident, he was back on a bike and started training for this week’s historic moment. His bike was modified to secure his legs during the rotation, which sounds like a simple solution, but there’s a catch: Because he’s strapped in, he is completely unable to quickly bail if something goes wrong, which means that performing any sort of trick is much more dangerous than on a standard setup. For that alone, the courage it takes to attempt such a stunt is beyond most mortals. But he is not most mortals:
Travis Pastrana had this to say afterward: “In Nitro Circus, we are all about pushing boundaries and overcoming obstacles in order to reach our goals, and Bruce lives that day in and day out.” Nitro CEO