Jake Gyllenhaal, Boston bombing hero Jeff Bauman to serve as honorary starters of Indianapolis 500

Photo provided by IMS

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Academy Award-nominated actor and producer Jake Gyllenhaal and Boston Marathon bombing survivor Jeff Bauman will team up to wave the green flag and serve as the first dual honorary starters for the 101st running of the Indianapolis 500.

Gyllenhaal will play Bauman in the upcoming film “Stronger,” based on Bauman’s New York Times best-selling book of the same name in which he provides a deeply personal account of his journey after losing both of his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013. The film, directed by David Gordon Green, will be released by Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions on September 22, 2017.

“We’re honored to welcome Jake Gyllenhaal and Jeff Bauman to send the field of 33 starters into Turn 1 for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said J. Douglas Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “It’s fitting that our fans will join Jake in honoring an incredible hero like Jeff on Memorial Day Weekend, as it’s a time when all Americans honor those who have made tremendous sacrifices for our nation.”

In the flash of the bomb blast, Bauman went from being an ordinary 27-year-old cheering his girlfriend at the finish line to a double amputee fighting for his life. The next day, Bauman became a hero when he awoke from multiple surgeries, groggy and unable to speak. He asked for a pen and paper and wrote down: “Saw the guy. Looked right at me.” With these seven words, Bauman set off one of the biggest manhunts in U.S. history and earned global accolades.

Months of intensive rehabilitation followed, which Bauman met with grace, humor and an unwavering determination to walk again, a goal he achieved in a transformational journey that became a story for our times.

The Indianapolis 500 will take place on Sunday, May 28. You can purchase tickets here.