To most, just completing a triathlon is an enormous accomplishment. To complete the three legged race of swimming, biking, and running, most athletes train for months at a time and still struggle to finish. Now, try doing all three of these things while pushing another person for the entire race. Most people would suggest it is an impossible feat. But Conner and Cayden Long, brothers of 10 and 7 years old, have proven otherwise.
When Cayden was 4 months old, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. This left him without the ability to walk or talk on his own, and the possibility of him participating in sports seemed highly unlikely. However, about a year and a half ago, Conner and his mom saw an advertisement for a kid’s triathlon in Nashville, Tennessee. Conner said he wanted to do it, and he wanted his little brother Cayden to do it with him.
The plan was simple: Conner would push or pull Cayden the entire race. He would pull Cayden in a raft as he swam the 100 yard freestyle. He would bike pulling Cayden in an attached stroller, and then push it as he completed the running portion of the race. In June 2011, the brothers completed their first triathlon in 43 minutes. Even though the brothers came in last, they smiled like champions at the finish line.
Since their first race, they have competed in 14 more triathlons, and along the way gained a multitude of supporters. This past year, the Long brothers were honored by Sports Illustrated as “Sportskids of the Year.” After a video played at the Sports Illustrated Awards ceremony (watch below), a teary-eyed LeBron James called the kids an inspiration, and not just deserving the “Sportskids of the Year” award but the “Sportsmen of the Year” one as well.
Conner and Cayden plan on continuing to compete in triathlons, and serve as a constant reminder of how powerful a brother’s love is, and how when you put your mind to something, you can accomplish anything!
Watch the video of Conner and Cayden at the Sports Illustrated Award show, with LeBron’s tribute to them at the end of the video: