ON TOP

A quadruple amputee who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro is the star of Nike’s newest ad

Obsession
Messaging
Obsession
Messaging

Recent Nike ads have called attention to groundbreaking athletes including the first transgender athlete on a US national team and an 86-year-old nun who competes in Ironman races.

Kyle Maynard, the star of Nike’s newest ad, is hands down the most inspiring.

The 30-year-old author and motivational speaker is the first quadruple amputee to climb Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro—the world’s tallest freestanding mountain—without the help of prosthetics.

“Wait, you don’t have arms. But you don’t have legs either,” the narrator says in the ad, slightly concerned.

“Oh, really? I must’ve left them at home,” Maynard responds, as he climbs.

“You left them at…? Dude, that’s not funny. You’re on top of a mountain. It’s dangerous.”

Maynard was born with a rare condition known as congenital amputation that rendered him a quadruple amputee. That hasn’t impeded him. In addition to climbing, Maynard competed in international jiu-jitsu and weightlifting competitions, and wrestled in high school, according to Nike’s press release for the spot.

Maynard said he lost 35 wrestling matches in a row before he finally won one in high school. Before he got a custom climbing system, he had to wrap his limbs in towels secured with tape.

But Maynard’s incredible spirit and “no excuses” motto helped him power through.

“You learn how to use your mind,” Maynard said, in a statement from Nike. “You learn: How do I not fall apart when I have something bad happen to me? How do I get through and overcome bigger challenges? How do I adapt? The lessons that you learn in your sport can transcend into every area of your life, in your relationships and in just any dream that you have.”

The ad is the final installment in Nike’s “Unlimited” marketing campaign, timed to coincide with the 2016 Summer Olympics and Paralympics, and created by ad agency Wieden+Kennedy.

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