By: April Carson
Rhea Bullos, a runner from the Philippines, won three gold medals in makeshift "sneakers" featuring a hand-drawn Nike swoosh.
Rhea Bullos, an 11-year-old Philippine track star, has gone viral after competing in a local inter-school running competition. According to CBS Sports, Bullos won three gold medals in the 400-meter, 800-meter, and 1,500-meter events at the Iloilo Schools Sports Council Meet on December 9. While it is true that she's making the rounds on the internet for her athletic accomplishments, she's not just doing so because of them. Bullos won her medals while competing in makeshift "sneakers" constructed only of plaster bandages, similar to a series of images uploaded to Facebook by her trainer, Predirick Valenzuela.
The young runner bested her competition, which included many other runners in athletic sneakers (though some also wore similar makeshift shoes), after running in shoes constructed of bandages that had been wrapped around her ankles, toes, and upper parts of her feet. Bullos drew a Nike swoosh on the top of her foot, as well as the name Nike on the bandages surrounding her ankles.
People all around the world rallied to Bullos' Facebook post to congratulate her. "This is by far the most amazing thing I've seen today! This young woman is a true inspiration, and she's definitely warmed my heart. She couldn't afford runners, but she made it into a good thing instead of a bad one!! Girl, go!"
Several people on Twitter and Reddit posted the tale, tagging Nike to ask the company to get Bullos and her fellow runners some athletic clothing for their next event. "Someone start a petition asking Nike to give all three of these ladies (and their two friends who did the same thing) a lifetime supply of Nikes," said one person.
"I'm proud of her," Bullos' trainer told CNN Philippines after the race. "She worked hard to prepare for it. They become weary only when they train in shoes because they don't have them," Valenzuela said of Bullos and her teammates, according to CNN.
After the news spread, Jeff Cariaso, CEO of Titan22 and head coach of the Alaska Aces (a professional basketball team in the Philippine Basketball Association), jumped on Twitter to seek aid in contacting Bullos. Sure enough, Joshua Enriquez, a person who claimed to be acquainted with Bullos' crew and said he could help, responded to Cariaso's tweet. Bullos' mother, according to Enriquez, also expressed interest in finding sponsors for the girl's training at the Agora Athletic Institute in Quezon City.
"Wow it's so nice to meet you," he wrote. "We want them to get new shoes! Let me know if there's anything I can do." Cariaso said on Twitter that they would soon connect him with the girl and her family. On Wednesday, Bullos' mother told ABS-CBN News that both Lennox and Nike were willing to extend support for her daughter. Enriquez' sister, meanwhile, said she would pass on shoes that they had collected from basketball players in the United States.
If your heart hasn't already exploded at the news, Bullos has obtained new equipment. The Daily Guardian, a tabloid newspaper in the Philippines, tweeted photographs of Bullos trying on some brand new shoes (apparently she also got some socks and a sports bag) earlier this week.
Bullos has yet to test her new shoes on the track. But when she's ready to hit the pavement, she'll have a lot of encouragement from both her footwear and her worldwide legion of supporters.
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About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
To read more of April's blogs, check out her website! She publishes new blogs on a daily basis, including the most helpful mommy advice and baby care tips! Follow on IG @bossbabymav
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