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Big-show veteran Jay Hieron and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski are tough guys, but they’re no Denzel Washington.

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Ellie Kerrigan is used to being a spectator at her brother's sporting events, but on Sunday the roles were reversed.

The 12-year-old Belleville girl, who has spinal muscular atrophy and has never walked in her life, was among more than two dozen kids with disabilities who participated in the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital first ever Adaptive Triathlon.

Ellie competed in all three events — walking and bicycling with assistance, but swimming by herself.

"It was fun," Ellie said afterward. "I expected the pool to be cold but it was really warm ... I love to swim."

"Swimming makes her feel free," Ellie's mother, Cathy Kerrigan, said. "Because she can walk in the pool where she's never walked never before. So in the pool, she has full movement."

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