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After a tragic accident, 4-year-old Edgard John Augustin woke up to his mother’s horrified screaming and looked down to see that both of his legs were missing from the knees down. His older brother who was seated next to him was also missing a leg, injuries caused from railing that pierced the back window after their mother lost control driving down the highway. All three members of the Augustin family survived the tragic accident, and Edgard lives to share the story of how he built his motivational brand Bionic Body and became a bodybuilder with two prosthetic legs.
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Edgard spent his first year after the accident at a center in Paris that specializes in rehabilitation for veterans and amputees. The 4-year-old spent a year there being taught to walk, first on crutches, then on his prostheses alone. Prosthetic legs and feet don’t provide the same kind of balance as normal rotating ankles, so he learned from a very young age how to use his upper body as his main source of balance due to the lack of stability in his legs.
Edgard moved back home a year later to French Guiana, a country in South America after he was released from rehabilitation. He suffered through years of teasing about his legs from peers in school and his mother also suffered through guilt for most of her life after being the driver in an accident that left her both her sons handicapped, although she wasn’t at fault. Surviving the accident at such a young age enabled Edgard to view his handicaps as a way of life, something a teenager or adult in his situation may not have coped with as well. Edgard was fortunate to never go through depression as a result of his accident and handicap, but he did miss his love for running when returning home and to school.
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After finishing high school at home in French Guiana, Edgard went to France to work on earning a BTS, a national French diploma for higher education, and it was there that he discovered a love for the gym. At first, exercise was never about looking like a ripped bodybuilder; working out was simply a way to blow off steam and feel good in body and mind through stressful exam periods in school. However, one unexpected opportunity led him to a motivational career as a very successful handicapped, wheelchair-division bodybuilder.
Edgard had always preferred that his handicap be kept a private matter, wearing pants to cover his prostheses so that only his close family and friends were aware of it. Several years after starting training he contacted a photographer, on a recommendation from a friend, who has been looking for an athlete in top physique to shoot. The photographer was inspired to shoot a series of photos around Edgard’s handicap, to which Edgard graciously agreed. The shoot included pictures of Edgard in sprinting and standing positions, wearing shorts with nothing to cover his prosthetic legs. The photographer shared his photos of Edgard with the Facebook community, and Edgard was shocked by the overwhelming positivity and praise he received. He used the kind comments to inspire others struggling with similar physical handicaps and thought up the name “Bionic Body” to create his motivational brand, posting pictures of his daily life and workouts with his prosthetic legs on display.
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Bionic Body has since grown a large following with over 20,000 followers on Edgard’s Facebook page and 65,000 viewers on his Instagram account for the brand. He inspires people each day who see him succeeding despite a severe handicap, motivating them to push through their own personal obstacles in life, whether it is a handicap or not. Bionic Body also opened up sponsorship and ambassador positions for Edgard’s bodybuilding career. He is sponsored by Myprotein athlete and serves as an ambassador for a non-invasive orthopedic and prosthetics equipment company called Ossur based in Iceland.
Today, Edgard has amazing prosthetics that he received shortly after relocating to Paris. His old models had restricted him at the gym, and when they broke his doctor equipped him with new prostheses that allow him to safely work his legs at the gym, including leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, and hack squats. He can even complete squats and deadlifts freestanding with a barbell, although at lighter weights because of balance issues caused by heavy weight on these exercises. His amazing prostheses are what allowed him to become the incredible bionic bodybuilder that he is today.
After years of training, Edgard found a coach in September 2014 to prepare him for a bodybuilding competition after urging from friends and colleagues. A year later, Edgard competed in France’s Grand Prix Des Pyrenees in April of 2015 and even though the contest didn’t accommodate wheelchair bodybuilding, the contest director arranged for Edgard to stand with alongside regular competitors without being judged in the competition. To Edgard, it was a priceless experience to walk with and stand next to non-handicapped athletes even though he belongs to a wheelchair bodybuilding division.
Following the competition, Edgard was asked to compete a few weeks later at a European Championship occurring in Spain. Edgard agreed, and three weeks later he became the European Wheelchair Bodybuilding Champion in May 2015. Edgard still competes today, recently having completed competitions this past March and April, and he is working toward competing in a championship competition this coming November to take home the title of undisputed IFBB Wheelchair Bodybuilding World Champion. The inspiring 30-year-old plans to keep bodybuilding and growing the Bionic Body brand to motivate other handicapped athletes and become the best bodybuilding champion in the world. Edgard’s hard work has not gone unnoticed in the fitness and bodybuilding world, and his inspiring dedication will continue to push him to new limits for years to come despite being a bionic man.
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