Lifestyle & Belief

Bryshon Nellum survives gang shooting to win silver, carry US flag


Bryshon Nellum of the United States celebrates after winning silver in the men's 4x400 relay on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 10, 2012 in England.


Alex Livesey

For anyone, let alone a track star like Bryshon Nellum, getting shot in the legs would be a terrifying experience you’d be happy to survive.

Bryshon Nellum isn’t like most of us.

Four years ago, the 23-year-old American Olympian was returning to his University of Southern California dorm when shots rang out and bullets hit him in both legs.

“I remember everything that happened,” Nellum told The Los Angeles Times. “The two guys were on my left side. I was walking across the street and they got me on my blind side.”

He was leaving a party, showing a new recruit the USC campus when two men drove up to him and fired.

Police believe they confused Nellum for a rival gang member.

Doctors told him to prepare for a life after elite athletics.

Four years later, he’s an Olympic silver medalist who will carry the US flag during today’s closing ceremony at the 2012 London Olympics.

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“I’m humbled by this incredible privilege,” Nellum said in a prepared release. “Four years ago I wasn’t sure I'd ever run again, and now I'm leading Team USA into the Closing Ceremony of the Olympic Games. I'm so grateful for the incredible support of my friends and family and I'll never forget these Games.”

US athletes chose Nellum for the honor.

Nellum reached the semifinal in the 400 meters and helped the US win silver in the 4X400 relay.

“His story has come full circle,” his USC coach Ron Allice told ESPN. “I'm so proud of what he's accomplished.”

Fencer Mariel Zagunis carried the US flag in the opening ceremony.

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