Jamie Nieto: ‘Thank God I’m still alive’ after paralyzing accident

Jamie Nieto
Getty Images

Jamie Nieto said he’s regaining strength, mobility and a greater ability to breathe every day since a training accident paralyzed him from the neck down on Friday.

“First and foremost, I’d definitely like to thank God I’m still alive,” Nieto said from a hospital bed, wearing a neck brace, in a video posted on social media Wednesday night. “Second of all, just want to thank everybody for your support. It’s been amazing and overwhelming, and for me it’s been a life-changing experience.”

Nieto, a retired 2004 and 2012 Olympic high jumper known for backflip celebrations, hit his head attempting a backflip while coaching Friday and underwent spine surgery.

“I slipped doing a flip,” he said. “My disc in my neck slipped and hit the nerve and paralyzed me. I could still feel my body, but it was numb and tingling, but I couldn’t move.”

Nieto called his injury an “incomplete sever” and said he has a “high chance of getting better.” He’s already improving. Breathing and swallowing remain “a little hampered” but are getting easier.

“Every day, I’m regaining strength and mobility, and I’m starting to move more stuff,” he said.

Nieto said he will document his recovery until he’s 100 percent with no complications.

“A lot of things come into perspective when something like this happens,” he said. “It makes you realize that stuff like this can happen to anybody. One day you’re floating along, and your life is going well, and everything’s cool. Then maybe you get a car accident, or you’re doing training things and flipping and hit your head. You never know what can happen. You’ve got to take advantage of these times in your life and enjoy it and embrace your loved ones and do the best, be the best person that you can be to everyone you meet.”

Support Nieto’s recovery here.

MORE: 100 Team USA athletes to watch on road to Rio

Olympian Derrick Mein ends U.S. men’s trap drought at shotgun worlds

Derrick Mein

Tokyo Olympian Derrick Mein became the first U.S. male shooter to win a world title in the trap event since 1966, prevailing at the world shotgun championships in Osijek, Croatia, on Wednesday.

Mein, who grew up on a small farm in Southeast Kansas, hunting deer and quail, nearly squandered a place in the final when he missed his last three shots in the semifinal round after hitting his first 22. He rallied in a sudden-death shoot-off for the last spot in the final by hitting all five of his targets.

He hit 33 of 34 targets in the final to win by two over Brit Nathan Hales with one round to spare.

The last U.S. man to win an Olympic trap title was Donald Haldeman in 1976.

Mein, 37, was 24th in his Olympic debut in Tokyo (and placed 13th with Kayle Browning in the mixed-gender team event).

The U.S. swept the Tokyo golds in the other shotgun event — skeet — with Vincent Hancock and Amber English. Browning took silver in women’s trap.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Mo Farah withdraws before London Marathon

Mo Farah

British track legend Mo Farah withdrew before Sunday’s London Marathon, citing a right hip injury before what would have been his first 26.2-mile race in nearly two years.

Farah, who swept the 2012 and 2016 Olympic track titles at 5000m and 10,000m, said he hoped “to be back out there” next April, when the London Marathon returns to its traditional month after COVID moved it to the fall for three consecutive years. Farah turns 40 on March 23.

“I’ve been training really hard over the past few months and I’d got myself back into good shape and was feeling pretty optimistic about being able to put in a good performance,” in London, Farah said in a press release. “However, over the past 10 days I’ve been feeling pain and tightness in my right hip. I’ve had extensive physio and treatment and done everything I can to be on the start line, but it hasn’t improved enough to compete on Sunday.”

Farah switched from the track to the marathon after the 2017 World Championships and won the 2018 Chicago Marathon in a then-European record time of 2:05:11. Belgium’s Bashir Abdi now holds the record at 2:03:36.

Farah returned to the track in a failed bid to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, then shifted back to the roads.

Sunday’s London Marathon men’s race is headlined by Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Birhanu Legese, the second- and third-fastest marathoners in history.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!