BMX star stands at his wedding after being told he'd never walk again

  • 04/01/2018

Australian BMX star Sam Willoughby was able to stand at his wedding ceremony 15 months after being told he'd never walk again.

Mr Willoughby, an Olympic silver medallist, suffered a serious spinal cord injury in a training accident in 2015. He was told he would never walk again - a diagnosis he rejected from the outset.

"That's not me, I'm not a quadriplegic," he told Channel 7 News.

Over a gruelling 15 months, the 26-year-old had to relearn basic physical movements. 

"It was just basic strengthening stuff, treating your body like a baby again."

For two hours every day, he rode a stationary bike, before progressing to crawling and then standing with leg braces. His motivation was simple: to stand on his wedding day.

Mr Willoughby announced his engagement to fellow athlete Alise Post, an American motocross racer, in January 2016.

"I just wanted to be vertical for the ceremony, that was the big goal."

On New Year's Eve 2017, exactly a year after leaving hospital, the couple were married - Mr Willoughby wearing special locked-in knee braces to help him stand.

He was even able to dance with his bride, something he describes as "probably the best moment of my life".

Mr Willoughby is now his wife's coach, and the two are determined to make the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.