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February 26, 2015

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Wheelchair athlete’s back flip lands him in record book


Stephen R. Sylvanie / Special to the Home News

With the top of his head mere inches above the lip of a jump, Aaron Fotheringham soars into the Guinness World Book of Records by performing a back flip in his wheelchair at Doc Romeo skate park on Oct. 20.

Going For The Record

Aaron Fotheringham, 16, attempts to set a Guinness Book of World Record for a wheelchair backflip.

Click to enlarge photo

Aaron Fotheringham crests the lip of a bowl at Doc Romeo skate park while performing various tricks before setting his own world record on Oct. 20.

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2008 Vegas AmJam

Advanced BMX competitor Ryan Roberts reacts after botching a trick attempt on the lip of a bowl during the Las Vegas AmJam skatepark series finals at Doc Romeo park on Saturday. Launch slideshow »

Aaron Fotheringham went into the record books as a pioneer in wheelchair sports Saturday.

Guinness World Records recorded the Northwest Las Vegas resident, in front of a crowd of more than 300 at Doc Romeo Park, as the first to complete a back flip in a wheelchair.

"It feels awesome to get this," said Fotheringham, 16, who performed the flip before the Vegas AmJam skatepark competition.

To achieve the trick, Fotheringham, rolled down a skatepark ramp to generate enough speed. He then went up another ramp and landed his flip on flat ground.

He first completed the trick in 2006, and has dozens of videos of his backflips, but had yet to make it official.

"I think it's fantastic," his mother, Kaylene Fotheringham, said. "So often we said 'we think he is the first one,' but today we know he has the world record,"

Aaron Fotheringham, who suffers from spina bifida and has been in a wheelchair since he was 13, came up short in his quest to set a record for most consecutive backflips in 45 seconds. His unofficial record is six back flips in a row, however, he could not get consecutive flips Oct. 25.

"I'm a little bit disappointed I didn't get the consecutive flips, but I guess I'm taking it for granted that I got in the book," Fotheringham said.

Completing the trick requires perfect judgment of speed and concentration, he said. Approaching the ramp too fast or too slow could result in a nasty spill on the pavement.

Wearing a helmet, Aaron Fotheringham hit his head on a couple of falls on Oct. 25. Encouragement from spectators helped him get back up.

"I'm really grateful for all the support," he said. "They may not have been my biggest crowd, but it was the most important one."

After getting the record, Aaron Fotheringham competed in the Vegas AmJam finals, and took first in the BMX advanced division.

AmJam coordinators allow him to compete with his wheelchair in the BMX division.

Sean Ammerman can be reached at 990-2661 or [email protected].

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