Extreme wheelchair athlete Aaron “Wheelz” Fotheringham left viewers in awe when he landed a front flip off a 100-foot ramp on his second attempt during Monday’s premiere episode of NBC’s “America’s Got Talent: Extreme,” filmed in Atlanta, Georgia.
Why it matters: Fotheringham, who goes by the nickname “Wheelz,” was born with the spinal condition spina bifida and has endured 23 surgeries to correct physical disabilities in his lifetime.
- The 29-year-old from Las Vegas used crutches as a child but found more freedom in a wheelchair. He used to watch other kids at a skate park until one day he worked up the courage to drop in with his wheelchair.
- Since then Wheelz has become a wheelchair motocross athlete and performed all kinds of jaw-dropping stunts around the world.
- Wheelz is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He married his wife, Charlee, in the Las Vegas Nevada Temple in 2018.
What happened: After scooting up the long stairway on his backside, Wheelz made his first jump in front of judges Simon Cowell, WWE superstar Nikki Bella and X Games legend Travis Pastrana. It resulted in a painful, skidding face-first crash, but Wheelz insisted he was fine, USA Today reported.
To the amazement of all, Wheelz asked to try again. The second time he stuck the landing and left the judges feeling emotional.
- “You define why we made this show in my honest opinion,” Cowell said. ”This is what we were looking for. You are an amazing person. You have every chance in winning this.”
Bella rewarded Wheelz by hitting the Golden Buzzer. “You’re going to the finals,” she said.