Here's Why Everyone's Crying Over Toyota's New Commercial

We're not crying, you're crying! A Toyota commercial starring Paralympic swim star Jessica Long tells the tale of a girl who overcame her challenges and beat all the odds. The athlete has competed in four Paralympics and has 23 medals to show for it, making her the second-most-decorated U.S. Paralympian ever. And the car company condensed that tale into a minute of pure inspiration. 

In a 2018 Public Libraries Online interview, Long revealed that she only started swimming because she didn't want to wear her prosthetic legs while doing gymnastics because they were "really big and bulky." She needed to find another sport after her parents called a meeting. "The thing that sold me was that I didn't have to wear prosthetics," she explained before continuing, "It really comes down to the core of just feeling this insane freedom."

The official Olympics website reports that Long was only 12 years old when she first made the Paralympic team and won three gold medals. She made her debut in Athens in 2004, and years later, the experience is still surreal to her. "How did I go 1:09 as a tiny 12-year-old?" she asked. She went on to compete in every Paralympic Games since then, bringing home the medals. However, this Toyota commercial has taken the world by storm, showing that there was far more to Long's story than her prowess in the pool. The athlete was fighting for her chance in life, even from the very beginning. Read on for more.

Jessica Long swims through her memories

In an interview with Public Libraries Online, Jessica Long got vulnerable. "You have to understand that there was a time I never talked about my legs, I never talked about the adoption. I think that's how I became such a good swimmer—I put it in the pool. Any emotion, any feeling, I wanted to swim through it," she revealed. In the Toyota commercial, she explores those feelings.

In the 60-second ad, entitled "Upstream," Long literally swims through memories of her childhood years and how she became an Olympic champion. The condensed biopic begins with her floating on her back before the sound of a ringing telephone interrupts her moment of solitude. In the following scene, a woman portraying her mother answers the phone. An adoption agency tells them about the baby that needs a home but explains that she has some challenges. "It might not be easy, but it will be amazing," the would-be mother says. Long flashes through memories of being in an orphanage, walking with crutches, and even joining a swimming team as a child.

"When I filmed that scene where I swim up to the edge and turn around to look at my mom and dad, I put myself there, back to that time," Long said (via Toyota), before adding, "Those emotions and that smile were completely real. At moments, I was tearing up in my goggles right on set." And seriously, Long hasn't been the only one tearing up.

Jessica Long and Toyota touch fans with their commercial

Jessica Long has everyone talking. The Toyota commercial exploded and set social media abuzz with many people revealing how they were touched by her story.

"The Toyota commercial with Paralympic swimmer, Jessica Long, rip my heart out, pump it back up and thrust it back into my chest. It's the most profoundly heartwarming story. I'm a puddle of snot bubbles every viewing," one person tweeted. Another remarked, "Honestly, my favorite part of the Olympics so far is the Toyota commercial about the adoption of the girl who ended up being a gold medalist Paralympic swimmer."

Even Long herself took to Instagram to write, "This is so special to me because I don't think I would've ever imagined that me – a girl born with no legs and adopted from a Russian orphanage – would ever have this type of opportunity." She dug deep and shared, "This process has reminded me that my parents wanted me truly and completely, and loved me even before my success." She also revealed, "The scene when little Jess swims under me and I swim over her – that's who I'm still swimming for – that little girl in the locker room who never gave up." Long concluded her caption of the clip by saying, "And if you need me today, I'll just be watching this over and over again most likely crying." Now, who's cutting onions in here?