Meet The 13-Year-Old With Cerebral Palsy Prepping for The 2020 Paralympics
To stand on a podium and receive a triathlon medal takes countless hours of preparation, practice, training, and toughness. Mental and physical toughness can be developed and enhanced, but for some people, it's clear that they were born with an above-average measure of both. One of those people is 13-year-old Kira Stevens.
When Kira was born, 3 months premature, she faced some daunting odds. She spent months in the hospital with her mother, Mia, and was eventually diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was just 1 year old. But when someone is a born athlete and competitor, it takes more than that to keep them away from their passions. And Kira was a born athlete through and through.
Today, Kira has competed in more than 30 triathlons. She's won enough medals and trophies to fill shelves. Later this year, she'll compete in the Junior Championships—and she eventually plans to take her competition to the next level, at the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Despite all of her victories, the most impressive part of Kira's approach to competition just might be her attitude about it.
"I'm slower than everybody else," Kira says, "but that doesn't really stop me, because... everybody cheers me on."
And while Kira is a proven winner, with both the athletic ability and mental toughness to outlast her peers, winning is not the most important to her. First, she likes spending time with her friends in training, and second: "It's about competing for the joy of it."