LENEXA, Kan. - A 9-year-old Johnson County girl made local history Sunday at the UCP Shawnee Mission Triathlon -- all thanks to her mother's love.
Cecilia Niemann took first place in the Challenged Athlete division. It is the first year the triathlon has added the division.
Cecilia, who has cerebral palsy, is the first person to ever win the category's first place medal.
On Sunday, her grandmother ran with her, while a family friend biked with her. But the feat was made far more special by Cecelia's mother, who swam for her and pulled her behind in a boat. They trained together for months.
Her mother said Cecelia gets so much happiness when she glides on the water with her.
"All she wants is to be like any other nine-year-old. She wants to be swimming, she wants to be biking, she wants to be running just like any other kid that age," her mother said.
Cecelia's mother said her driving force was to make her daughter feel like any other normally functioning child.
"I can give her the means to do it so she gets that sense of movement and excitement," she explained. "It really makes her feel like she's not as disabled, and, as a mom, that's all I want her to feel is normal as possible."