St. Charles Triathlete Shares his “Little something extra”

Gabriel Cobb describes his first triathlon in 2018 as being a little overwhelming.
Published: Mar. 8, 2023 at 5:26 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Gabriel Cobb describes his first triathlon in 2018 as being a little overwhelming. He was exhausted during the final stretch, but having the High School Tri Club (HSTri Club), a St. Louis-based club, by his side helped push him to the finish line.

He wants to be an example of perseverance.

Gabriel Cobb said, “I have down syndrome.”

Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, is when someone has an extra copy of the 21st chromosome. A typical person only has two. Gabriel and his parents call his third 21st chromosome “A little something extra.”

Gabriel said, “My biggest challenge is low muscle tone. It affects every muscle in my body, and takes me 30% more energy to do an activity.”

Gabriel started swimming, running, and biking to help him stay in shape. A coach at HSTri Club saw him swimming at the YMCA and recruited him for the team. The training was difficult, but he finished his first triathlon in 2018. He has completed nine other triathlons since then.

Gabriel describes his coaches as his heroes.

Gabriel said, “They push me to find comfort in the uncomfortable, they push me to get better.”

Every accomplishment comes with its challenges. Gabriel is well-equipped to overcome them.

Gabriel’s mother, Lori Cobb, said, “Teaching him to play the piano, teaching him to read, to write, everything he does, is just a miracle.”

Gabriel Cobb also has public speaking on his resume. He has spoken about down syndrome at an event in San Antonio, Lafayette High School, and Lindenwood University.

His next audience is the United Nations in New York on March 17th. He is giving the speech ahead of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21st.

March 21st is recognized as World Down Syndrome Day, where the 3 and the 21 stand for the third 21st chromosome. Down syndrome is caused by the presence of this extra 21st chromosome.

Mr. Cobb said, “The fact that we’ve come this far, that my son can have a full life, that there are opportunities out there, both school and all these other things. And now he’s being asked to speak at the UN. We’ve come a long way as a society with our understanding and appreciation of people who have special needs or other abilities.”

During Gabriel’s speech to the UN, he will be talking about his family, his first lake swims triathlon, and raising down syndrome awareness.

He wants to show that his little something extra is his greatest gift.

Mrs. Cobb said, “People like Gabriel, bring out the good in us. Because we have to slow down, we have to be patient, beyond what we normally have to do in life. And we have to be encouraging, and supportive. All the good things that we should all be doing every day, but most of us never get tested. And that’s the best part of down syndrome. It brings out the best of us, through a lot of testing and trials.”

Gabriel said, “I have down syndrome and I have no limitations.”