Have you heard of the three sisters from Brooklyn—Tai (11), Rainn (10), and Brooke (9) Sheppard? Well, if you haven’t, you are about to, and we predict that it will be for many more years to come. These adorable preteen rising stars were just named Sports Illustrated Kids’ 2016 SportsKids of the Year.
Having all qualified for the 2016 AAU Junior Olympic Games in Houston, TX, winning individual track and field medals, the girls are unquestionably quite the inspiration to both children and adults alike; however, their magic goes well beyond their athletic talent as they first overcame adversity to get to where they are today.
Evicted from their home in September of 2015, the girls had since been living in a homeless shelter with their mother but that hasn’t deterred them from their present and future goals of becoming track stars. “I plan to go to the Olympics one day in [a distance race],” comments Rainn, who won a gold medal in the 3,000 m in Houston, to Time Magazine.
In its 10th year of celebrating young athletes, the SportsKids of the Year award recognizes athletes for their athletic prowess but also for their determination to overcome obstacles. “We hear a lot about the obstacles that athletes have to overcome to succeed,” states Mark Bechtel, managing editor of Sports Illustrated Kids. “They’ve, [the sisters], done it with grace and poise. Their efforts have been phenomenal—and inspiring.”
Tai, Rainn, Brook, and their mother, Tonia Handy, will be featured on the cover of the December issue of Sports Illustrated Kids and honored at a special event in NYC on December 12th.
Congratulations are definitely in order to these outstanding young ladies. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for them.