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Tricia Downing was a competitive cyclist whose life changed instantly when she was hit by a car in 2000. She was left paralyzed from the waist down.

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“I didn’t know what my life would be like. I didn’t know If I would return to sports,” she told Triathlete Inspires. “It was a huge transformation from able-bodied athlete to have to figure out what’s next.”

Triathlons came next, and Downing became the first paraplegic to compete in an Ironman triathlon and qualified for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in 2006 and 2010.

“I want people to get off the sidelines, get in the race, and know the finish line is in their reach,” Downing said in her inspirational video, Win Your Human Race.

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Downing had to give up triathlons in 2010 because of injuries and wear on her body. Undeterred, she took up rowing and competed for the U.S. rowing team at the World Championships in Slovenia in 2011.

Looking for something that wasn’t as physically taxing on her body as rowing and triathlons, Downing took up pistol shooting and competed for the United States in the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

“Being a Paralympian was definitely a highlight of my athletic career,” Downing said. “It taught me so much about myself, that I’m capable of doing anything I put my mind to.”

Downing works with several foundations for those with disabilities and in 2019, she won the PUSH Inspiration award given to the individual who stands out as a positive and influential role model for the community

Photo Credit: Twitter