A young athlete has crossed the finish line with flying colors and a big smile.
Bailey Matthews, an 8-year-old who has cerebral palsy, completed a triathlon in England last weekend, discarding his walking aid before crossing the finish line to a roaring crowd, the Yorkshire Post reported.
“That was his way of finishing in style and showing everyone what he could do,” Bailey’s mother, Julie Hardcastle, told the news outlet. “It was the response from the crowd that pushed him to do that.”
The young athlete from Nottinghamshire, England, was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when he was 18 months old. Though the condition affects Bailey’s motor skills, making certain tasks and movements difficult, his father, Jonathan Matthews, adapted a walking frame so his son could participate in physical activities -- including last weekend’s triathlon.
“The majority of what he does is self-propelled,” Matthews, himself an avid triathlete who used to push Bailey around in his wheelchair during running events, told the Yorkshire Post. “He is more than eager to get out and do something. If we can make that easier for him then that it what we will do.”
Bailey’s self-determination led him to complete the Castle Howard Triathlon in North Yorkshire on Saturday, which, for the children’s race, included a 100-meter swim, 4,000-meter bike ride and 1,300-meter run, according to the event’s website. The events take place on the castle’s grounds, with one parent allowed to help young competitors with the race.
“We are in the business of driving visitors from all walks to Yorkshire,” Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said in a press release. “It’s a wonderful setting for an event of this kind.”
Hundreds of spectators waited at the end of the course and cheered on Bailey’s incredible achievement. He used his custom walking frame during the race, but cast it aside for the final stretch, crossing the finish line with pride and glory.
“We have always tried to make sure that if there is something he wants to do,” Hardcastle told the Yorkshire Post, “There is no such word as ‘can’t’.”
Also on HuffPost: