Steph Hammerman, who is competing this weekend in the Adaptive division, became Nike’s first sponsored adaptive athlete in November of 2017, just before last year’s Wodapalooza. But it was actually kind of on accident.
It all started with shoes.
Steph, who lives with Cerebral Palsy, drags her feet when she walks and was tired of going through shoes every two to three weeks. So she reached out to Nike and asked if she could try a pair of Metcons. She wanted to see how they stacked up against all the other trainers she had tried.
They lasted almost three months.
So Steph called Nike to thank them and give them her feedback on the shoe’s performance as a whole. Instead, she got a sponsorship deal out of it.
Not what she expected.
Steph was shocked. “When they told me they wanted to sign me as an athlete, I was like you wanna do WHAT?!” At a time when Steph felt like anything but an elite athlete, Nike treated her as though she already was one.
“The cool thing about Nike is that they don’t just say they’re going to do something. From the very beginning, everyone at Nike treated me as an elite athlete.”
One of many firsts.
But becoming Nike’s first adaptive athlete is one of many “firsts” for Steph, who has a background as a competitive hand cycler. When she got bored with her training, a friend suggested she try CrossFit.
In May of 2012, she did her first WOD. Laying on the ground winded, she said “I wanna do that again.”
One year later, she decided she wanted to become a coach. So she took the L1 course and then continued her CrossFit education in 2014, becoming the first CrossFit Level 2 coach with Cerebral Palsy.
A big year for Steph.
He made a division just for her. That year, Steph became the first athlete to sign up for the Wodapalooza Adaptive division. Two people competed in the Adaptive Division that year, but in 2015 Wodapalooza did it again, with Steph and Chris Stoutenburg of Wheel WOD working on the programming together.
Steph is competing again this year, even though she hesitated, having opening Hammer Driven Fitness just four months ago.
But Wodapalooza, and Nike, hold a special place for her. She decided she would give it another go. “I wanted to fall in love with fitness all over again.”