Edgar John Augustine lost both legs in a car accident at the age of 4 years. Today he is a bodybuilding champion.
Author: Alex Mihailescu
One fatal evening, when Edgar John Augustine was 4 a year, his mother did not manage to drive the car on the high-speed highway. "I remember that I came to myself from the heartrending cries of my mother," he recalls. "There was blood everywhere, and below my knees I did not have legs. My older brother, who was sitting next to me in the back seat, also lost one leg. " The cause of the injury was the rail of the fence, which rammed the car through the rear window. "
By the time they were taken to the hospital, both boys had lost a lot of blood. "We are generally lucky that the doctors could save us," continues Edgar, who is now 30. – And although our mother had only fractures of several fingers, the accident completely changed her life. To this day, she considers herself guilty of the fact that both her sons were seriously injured. This is a heavy burden on her soul. "
Shortly after discharge from the hospital, Edgar was sent to a rehabilitation center in Paris, specializing in the rehabilitation of war veterans and other people with limb amputations. There he was to spend a year, during which time he learned to walk anew and adapted to a new way of life.
"It was a long process, requiring colossal patience," he recalls. – At first I could not move away from the bars, which helped me to keep on my feet and make timid steps. Then I gradually learned to walk on crutches, and then on some prostheses without any help. "
For Edgar, those 12 months were like the first steps of a child who is just learning to walk. And although today, being an adult, he was already used to his prosthesis, walking did not become his second nature, as for others. "The most difficult thing in walking on dentures is to keep balance," he says. – Absence of ankle joints and their inherent rotation makes the search for balance incredibly difficult. I actively use the upper body to compensate for the lack of balance in the legs. For example, if I do not hold hands in the subway or in a bus, I risk falling. "
After discharge from the rehabilitation center, Edgar returned to his hometown in South America, in French Guinea. As a child, the most difficult thing for him was to cope with the stairs and reflect the attacks of his peers in school. "Other children looked at my feet and laughed at me," he recalls. "They called me" robot legs, "and sometimes it got me."
But the fact that the car accident occurred at the age of 4 years, Edgar finds and positive moments. "It helped me adapt to a new way of life. If I were injured as a teenager or an adult, I think it would be much harder to deal with this, "he explains. – But in my case, I at least did not know another life, so the accident did not become for me a psychological and emotional end. Fortunately, I never suffered from depression and did not think about suicide. "
As a child, sport was not Edgar's passion. "I preferred treats, not exercises," he grins. "You know, a good life." Surprisingly, despite the lack of interest in sports, running was his strong point. "I always excelled in running at physical education classes," Edgar continues. – And always ran faster than all classmates. I do not know why, it just happened that way. "
Edgar first discovered the gym after graduating from college in Paris, where he worked on obtaining a diploma. "It was a way to blow off steam and relieve stress during the exam period," he explains. – Unlike most guys, I did not have the desire to pump up a relief press and big biceps. Just training helped me improve my health. I enjoyed the way physical activities acted on my mind and on my body. "
A few years after the start of training, Edgar met with a sports photographer through mutual friends. Then he did not know yet that this meeting would change his life. "The photographer was looking for an athletic guy for a photo shoot, and my college friends thought I might come up," he says. – I contacted him and explained my situation, which prompted him to organize a motivating photo session based on my physical shortcomings. "
At first Edgar did not agree, because he did not want to make his shortcomings on the public; I must say that, apart from family members and close friends, most people did not know about them, because he always wore trousers or clothes hiding prosthetic devices. But after reflection he decided to agree to a photo shoot.
"We took photos in different sprint positions, I was wearing tight shorts that emphasized the muscles of the thigh, but left the legs completely below the knees," he says. – The photographer then published some of the photos on Facebook, and the comments I received were simply stunning. Photos were met with positive and enthusiastic. People told me that I should use my shortcomings and demonstrate them without a shadow of embarrassment. It was really incredible. "
A warm reception on Facebook instantly switched the toggle switch inside Edgar. From that moment, he decided that he would no longer hide his legs. Instead, he will use them as a source of motivation and inspiration to help other people who have had a hard time.
"I chose myself the Bionic Body nickname, a little provocative and attracting attention to create my own motivating brand," he explains. "I registered it in all social networks and began to publish photos from life and workouts, where my prostheses were always visible."
Today the Bionic Body has grown to a scale that Edgar could not have imagined. His Facebook page has collected more 20 000 likes, and his profile in Instagram has more 65 000 followers. He inspires and motivates thousands of people every day. He often receives letters and messages from people who write to him that after seeing how he achieved success despite his physical handicaps, they changed their attitude to life and found the strength to overcome their own barriers and difficulties.
The Bionic Body opened many doors before Edgar: the 30-year-old bodybuilder is sponsored by Myprotein, and he is the representative of Ossur, an Icelandic company specializing in non-invasive orthopedic equipment and prostheses.
"At about the time I moved to Paris and worked on the diploma, my prostheses broke," he recalls. "They were old models that I had worn since I was young, and they limited my opportunities in the gym. It turned out to be a blessing from above, because in the end I found a specialist who supplied me with new steep prostheses that allowed me to safely load and train my legs in the gym. "
"With new prostheses, I can perform many leg exercises," he explains. – I like to do a press with my feet, gak squats, extension and bending of the legs, and I am able to fully control the working weight in these exercises. Squats with a barbell and stanovayuyu traction, I can also perform, although I try in these movements to use less weight, because I find it difficult to balance if I take too much weight. "
In September 2014, cheered by friends and colleagues, Edgar hired a personal trainer to prepare for his first competitions. "To be honest, I never thought about competitions," he admits. "I did not have this spirit of rivalry in me, or I thought that I could not do it. But since many of my acquaintances encouraged me, I decided to try. "
As a result, Edgar took part in the Grand Prix of the Pyrenees in April 2015. Bodybuilding for people with disabilities in France is not very developed, and only in the largest competitions of the country there is a corresponding category. However, Edgar did not stop this; he appealed to the founder of the Grand Prix of the Pyrenees, and he allowed him to go on stage and pose on a par with regular participants, although outside the competitive program.
"It was pretty strange, theoretically I belonged to the category of wheelchairs, but in fact I was lucky to go on stage and fulfill the mandatory postures in the main program," he recalls. – The opportunity to walk around the stage with ordinary athletes has become the best experience in my life. An invaluable experience. "
After the Grand Prix of the Pyrenees, the head coach of the national team of France, Edgar invited to speak at the European Championships in Spain, which was to be held in three weeks. Edgar agreed, and in May 2015 won the European Bodybuilding Champion title among athletes with disabilities according to IFBB.
Today Edgar is a man with a changed view of the world. In March and April of this year, he took part in two competitions. In parallel, he prepares for the World Cup in November, where he hopes to become the absolute champion of the IFBB in bodybuilding in the category of athletes with disabilities.
"For me, bodybuilding is not just a hobby," he explains. – This is a lifestyle. This is who I am, and what I want to do in life. I want to continue to develop the Bionic Body, to help people, to motivate them. I want to become the greatest champion in the history of sports. "
Stories like Edgar's stories inspire and remind once again that everything can be achieved, there would be will and desire. As Edgar likes to say, "Our possibilities are endless."
Guys, thanks for the article. An athlete is worthy of respect and admiration.