At a recent triathlon, just ahead of him, there was an older woman in James Banks' path struggling to keep it together.
When her trembling legs forced her to the ground moments later, Banks did exactly what he always does in those situations. Banks stopped alongside her, far less concerned about the meaningless few seconds he'd lose from his final time than making sure a fellow athlete received a much-needed confidence boost at a critical personal juncture.
Of course, this act in and of itself shouldn't come as a complete shock. Endurance athletes hail from a proud community in which communal encouragement often is just part of the deal. In Banks' case, however, the depth of his compassion is exceeded only by his boundless determination.
Banks, a 19-year old from Baltimore, has been competing in triathlons for eight years despite significant physical handicaps stemming from cerebral palsy and scoliosis. Banks is making the trip to Colorado to compete in the Ironman Boulder on Sunday. Even if he doesn't make a mark with his grit, chances are his encouraging voice will be heard.
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