Monday, January 25, 2016

Eight-year-old triathlete with cerebral palsy wins prestigious Rollason award

Bailey Matthews lives in the town of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, England.  It was in North Yorkshire that he successfully completed a children's triathlon event last July, swimming for 100 meters, riding a bicycle for 4 kilometers, and running for 1.3 kilometers.  It would be an impressive achievement for any eight-year-old, but it's especially extraordinary for Bailey, who has cerebral palsy.

Video of the end of the triathlon shows Bailey discarding his walking frame, choosing instead to run the last few feet to the finish line on his own.  He falls down twice, but picks himself up and continues undaunted.  Spectators cheer him on all the way.

Footage of the event went viral, attracting more than 30 million views.  It caught the attention of the British Broadcasting Corporation, which presented Bailey with its Helen Rollason award last December.  Named after pioneering female sports journalist Helen Rollason, the award is given by the BBC to recognize "outstanding achievement in the face of adversity."  Past winners include competitors in the Invictus Games, as well as sitting volleyball player Martine Wright.

Bailey Matthews was presented with the award by two time Olympic gold medalist Rebecca Adlington and singer Niall Horan of the band One Direction.  Watch the ceremony and Bailey's acceptance speech below:

As for what Bailey has planned for the future, he told the arena that he wants to compete in five more triathlons next.

You can read more about Bailey Matthews, from the BBC, in The Guardian, and in The Yorkshire Post.

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