Young Athletes of the Year

Like it or not, professional athletes are role models for our children. Sometimes this is a good thing, and, well, sometimes it’s not. (Ahem, Lance.) Thankfully, inspiration is a two-way street: Young athletes can teach us what it means to try our hardest, practice true sportsmanship, and play for all the right reasons.

We’d all do well to take a cue from Connor and Cayden Long, whom Sports Illustrated named Sports Kids of the Year in 2012. The brothers, now nine and seven, have spent the last year and a half competing together in youth triathlons up and down the East Coast. Cool story, but here’s the hitch: Cayden, 7, who has hypertonic cerebral palsy, can’t walk or swim or ride a bike. His brother, Connor, helps him through the whole course: pulling him on a raft during the swimming leg, towing him on a bike trailer during the cycling leg, and pushing him in the trailer during the run.

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