‘We did it!’: Charlotte man wins gold at Paralympic Games, brother coaches him through training

Nick Mayhugh broke a world record in his classification for the Paralympic 100 T37 meter dash. He then beat his own record to win Gold.
Nick Mayhugh broke a world record in his classification for the Paralympic 100 T37 meter dash. He then beat his own record to win Gold.
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:23 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 27, 2021 at 9:08 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The 2020 Paralympic Games started this week in Tokyo and so far at least one gold medal is on its way back to the Queen City.

Nick Mayhugh won gold after beating his own world record in the Paralympics 100 meter dash for the T37 classification. But it’s something him and his brother, who is Nick’s athletic coach, never expected would happen.

That’s because Nick and Thomas grew up as soccer players.

But when the 2020 Paralympics announced Nick’s division of soccer wouldn’t be held at this year’s Paralympics, Nick decided to train for a new sport.

And called his brother to help get him ready.

“When we’re on the track and in the gym, I’m his coach,” said Thomas Mayhugh, a certified athletic trainer and Nick’s older brother. “Outside of that he needs me as a brother, and he knows he has that too.”

Nick and Thomas are athletes through and through. Both played competitive soccer their whole lives. When Nick was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a disorder that effects muscle movement, in high school - he was told to stop playing sports all together.

But that wasn’t an option for the Mayhugh family. Nick powered through anyway, eventually playing college, even though he had a disability.

“He was old enough to understand ‘I’m already pretty good at what I do. And I have a disability? Cool. Now I’m going to prove all the other stuff I can do,’” his brother Thomas explained.

The next goal was the Paralympic Games. Mayhugh competed in other international Para Soccer competitions, but Thomas says his division of soccer wasn’t slated to play in this year’s Paralympics because there wasn’t a female counterpart team available. That’s when Nick’s soccer coach recommended track.

For the last two years, the Mayhugh brothers trained on the Johnson C. Smith University track and it’s paid off already in Tokyo.

“This is crazy, really is what he kept saying. He was like this is crazy bro. We did it,” said Thomas.

When Nick beat his record to win gold on Thursday night, the announcers were surprised since it was Nick’s first Paralympic games.

“His Paralympic career is underway with a sterling start. He’s already in the lead halfway through his 100. Mayhugh expanding that lead. Look at him go! Nick Mayhugh, world record, 10.97,” said the announcer during the broadcast on NBC Sports.

That record and performance is something any coach, and even more so a brother, can be proud of.

“When he broke 11 seconds, I was like ‘Oh that’s huge,’” Thomas said.

Mayhugh will compete in five other track events during the Paralympic games. His next race is on Tuesday.

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