Jaden Movold's smile said it all as he sped to the finish line of the Weet-Bix Tryathlon in Auckland.
The 8-year-old was born with the most severe form of spina bifida and has endured 17 major operations in his short life, but that was the furthest thing from his mind as he joined hundreds of other children for the annual event.
Jaden is one of the youngest ambassadors for disabled sports and was first in line to congratulate Paralympic swimming champion Sophie Pascoe when she returned to New Zealand with her haul of medals.
Event spokesman Dean Wilson said it was "neat" to watch Jaden cross the finish line. "He was just on such a high afterwards."
All participants in the event, open to all children aged 7-15, were presented with a gold medal.