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Shevon Nieto Chose Love Over Her Career. Here’s What Happened Next
by Black Love Team
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October 16, 2018

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Shevon Nieto Chose Love Over Her Career. Here’s What Happened Next

 

“When you love someone and decide to spend your life as one, your dreams and goals are now shared, so when an injury or hardship comes, it hits you both.  But if you focus on your love, you’ll find a way to get through, and, if need be, create new goals together.” – Shevon Nieto

It was to be Shevon Nieto’s third and final Olympics.  She was in the best shape of her life and was training harder than ever before to make the 2016 Rio Olympic Team.  It was her only focus. Then, just two months before the trials, the unimaginable happened. The love of her life, her then boyfriend, Olympic high jumper and track and field coach Jamie Nieto, was performing his signature move, a somersault.  This was a move he had completed hundreds of times before. But this time, his foot slipped. Jamie landed on his head and broke his neck.

Shevon got the call that Jamie was being airlifted to the hospital.  At that moment, everything changed. They were told Jamie was paralyzed from the neck down.  Shevon would not go on on to compete in the Olympic trials, choosing, instead, to stay by his side.  But this pivot opened up opportunities for both Shevon and Jamie to realize dreams, some old and some brand new.

The couple told their story in this weekend’s episode of BLACK LOVE entitled In Sickness and In Health. We were struck by Shevon’s decision to change her career to stay near Jamie leading to a return to her first love –– music.

BlackLove.com: Hi Shevon! We are so happy to see you and Jamie doing so well. Tell us more about being an Olympic hurdler and preparing for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio prior to Jamie’s accident.

Shevon Nieto: I had been an athlete all my life and went to University of South Carolina on a track scholarship.  I worked hard and stayed focused and competed well, and in 2004 I made my first Olympic Games in Athens and in 2008 my second Olympic Games in Beijing.  In 2016 I was ecstatic to prepare for the Rio Olympic Games and have the opportunity to run in one final Olympics, before moving on from competitive Sports.

BL: Did you have any plans after the Olympic Games?

SN: Yes, after the games, my plan was to turn to my music.  Music had always been my first love, but once I got a scholarship to school for track, I followed where that took me.  And, it took me to a career as a competitive athlete, which was also very rewarding.

BL: You tell us about how you and Jamie met in your episode of BLACK LOVE, can you give us a quick recap?  

SN: We met at a track meet in 2010.  He asked me were my next meet was.  It was at UCLA, and he was competing there, too.  We arranged to have dinner, and we’ve been together ever since.   

Shevon & Jamie Nieto

BL: In 2016 you were training for the Rio Olympic Games trials when Jamie had his accident.  You chose not to go to the Olympic Games in order to be by his side. Tell us about this decision.

SN:  I had to be with Jamie.  That was it. There was no way I was going to leave him.  He wanted me to go. He knew the Olympics were important to me and wanted me to focus on my goal.  After taking two weeks off to be with him, I tried to go back to practice, but my heart was with Jamie.  It hurt too much to think how long I would be gone and that I would not be by his side. I only wanted to be with him.  I knew everything needed to be about him. I let go of my Olympic Dreams or any dreams I had for music. I didn’t think about my own desires and what I wanted to do.  It was more important to get him through this, whatever this was.  I chose us and never looked back.  I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew I loved him and I needed to be with him. [I put it] in God’s hands.

BL: On the show you talk about that choice and what it was like.  How did it affect you as a couple?

SN: Everything was tested.  Love was tested, faith was tested.  It brought us together. We only had each other.  It made us closer friends and stronger as a couple.

BL: Something happened about a year into Jamie’s recovery.  Tell us about that.

SN: About a year in, songs started to come into my head.  They were songs based on Jamie and my love. Songs about what we’d been through –– songs like “Fight” and “I’m Still Standing”, all the feelings and all the emotions came to me in song.  

BL: What did Jamie think?

SN: He was so excited and supportive.  He knew how much music once meant to me and pushed for me to go into the studio.  Finally I did. That first time in the studio I was so ready to get the songs out of my heart.  All the feelings, and all the emotions I’d been going through just poured out of me. The singing was therapy.

Shevon and Jamie Nieto Wedding
Shevon and Jamie Nieto Wedding

BL: That’s amazing.

SN: It really is.  I had given up the music completely and had no intention on going back.  This time, the music came to me. Everything I’ve gone through has allowed me to have more purpose through my music.  These songs, this singing career, look how it all came back together. I kept our [Jamie and my] love first and now so much has come from it.  At the time of the injury, Jamie and I weren’t married, we weren’t even engaged. But those became benchmarks for his recovery. He made it a goal to walk me down the aisle on our wedding day.  And, he did.

Now Jamie is writing sitcoms, I have my music career, and we have a foundation –– Helping Others Triumph, where we help other get through life’s trials and tribulations.

There are sacrifices you make when you love someone.  We didn’t know what would happen, but we knew we loved each other.  And that’s what we did, love each other, and so much has come from it.

BL: Final question – What is one piece of advice you would give to a person or couple who is evaluating whether to change their goals or plans due to a loved one’s unexpected illness or injury?  

SN: When you love someone and decide to spend your life as one, your dreams and goals are now shared, so when an injury or hardship comes, it hits you both.  But if you focus on your love, you’ll find a way to get through, and, if need be, create new goals together.

Thank you so much Shevon for your beautiful love story.  To find out more information on Shevon’s music and the ways in which their foundation, Helping Others Triumph, is helping others, follow her on Instagram at @ShevonStoddart.

Check out Shevon’s single below: The Good and the Bad, written based on her experience with her husband, Jamie.  

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