Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (2024)

Outside a purpose-built gym in a backyard shed on the Gold Coast, Jordan Cabrita sits in the sun watching four friends complete a gruelling workout.

They're training as a team for next months' annual CrossFit Games in the United States.

But Cabrita isn't just here to watch — he's also here to train for his own tilt at games glory.

In September, Cabrita will become one of the first Australians ever to compete in a new intellectual division at the Adaptive CrossFit Games in San Antonio, Texas.

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (1)

The 26-year-old Central Coast resident lives with Down syndrome, autism and a stoma, and spent a lot of his childhood in hospital.

Cabrita's disabilities make speech difficult, so his mum, Danielle Cabrita, helps him communicate.

"From the time Jordan was born, the opinion — especially in the medical field — was that he couldn't do so much," she says.

"We were told he couldn't jump; we were told he couldn't ride; we were told he would not survive."

At 15, Cabrita nearly died from a vicious infection at the site of his stoma and spent 125 days in hospital receiving intravenous antibiotics.

After enduring surgery to relocate the stoma, he beat the infection and soon after took up CrossFit.

"His general persona started changing, he had a bounce in his step, he became very proud of his achievements," Ms Cabrita says.

Loading...

"It became obvious that Jordan had a bit of skill with weightlifting — he had really good technique."

In 2022, Cabrita started entering CrossFit competitions.

"Jordan lived his life in a clinical setting, until the age of 15 we were in and out of hospital at least every six weeks," Ms Cabrita says.

"Now Jordan gets up every day, gets himself dressed and he has a purpose, and it's not limited to or defined by his disability."

Owning the competition floor

CrossFit competitions pit athletes against each other across a series of workouts, each made up of one or more different exercises.

Gaining entry to the sport's top competition, the CrossFit Games, isn't easy, and for Cabrita it's been no different.

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (2)

He's battled through rigorous workouts to rank 10th in the world in his division and qualify for the Adaptive Games.

His back-squat record is 110 kilograms, more than the average Australian man weighs.

Eight-time CrossFit Games athlete Khan Porter, who regularly trains with Cabrita on the Gold Coast and describes him as a "legend", says the 26-year-old's drive in competition has earned him cult-status.

"His attitude and his enthusiasm, he owns the competition floor like nobody else," Porter says.

"He gives such positive energy to everyone around, you'll never see him without a smile on his face at a competition."

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (3)

Porter says working out with Cabrita and watching him grow as an athlete reminds him why he started training, long before he turned pro.

"Training was an outlet for my own physical and mental health," he says.

"Doing something professionally can change the dynamic but getting to train and spend time with Jordan in the gym, it just makes me fall in love with the sport all over again."

'Progressive overload'

Just as it is for any athlete at the top of their field, monitoring Cabrita's health in the gym is incredibly important.

Clinical exercise physiologist Sarah Bradley says Cabrita's primary physical challenge is his body's reduced ability to uptake oxygen and use it efficiently.

"We call that a VO2 Max, and his VO2 max was very low," Ms Bradley says.

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (4)

She says because of this, Cabrita also struggles to clear lactic acid from his muscles while working out.

"My biggest role has been to come in and safely, gradually and progressively overload him to try and up that ceiling of his oxygen efficiency."

Ms Bradley says Cabrita's intense focus on what he can do, rather than what he can't, is part of his success.

"You can look at his physical capacity, you can look at his incredible mobility, his beautiful technique, but his tenacity and his fortitude on the competition floor is something else," she says.

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (5)

"Jordan isn't supposed to be able to do what he can do — he is living with a lot more conditions than just Down syndrome — so for him to be in the top 10 is absolutely extraordinary.

"He's been very provocative so he's bringing people out of the woodwork and people are seeing what he can do and we're getting more athletes living with Down syndrome wanting to do similar things."

'An opportunity to live his dream'

Cabrita's top 10 ranking and his qualification to the Adaptive Games is a source of immense pride for his mum.

"It's an incredible opportunity, it's a door to show the world that despite his disability, there's something bigger to him," Ms Cabrita says.

"It provides him a platform to communicate his strengths while being challenged in his weaknesses.

"I'm just so proud that he's getting an opportunity to live his dream. That's what any parent wants, for their child to be able to achieve their dream as a person, as an individual."

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (6)

For Cabrita, the games spot is a chance to prove his strength and fitness on the competition floor, and an opportunity to represent Australia.

It's also a stage to show the world what he's capable of.

"He wants to go to the games to show people he can be like [former world number ones] Matt Fraser and Tia Toomey," Ms Cabrita says.

"He's the same as you."

Loading...

If you're unable to load the form, click here.

Posted, updated

Jordan can lift more than the average Australian man weighs — and he's about to take the world stage in a sport he loves (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Last Updated:

Views: 6469

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Fr. Dewey Fisher

Birthday: 1993-03-26

Address: 917 Hyun Views, Rogahnmouth, KY 91013-8827

Phone: +5938540192553

Job: Administration Developer

Hobby: Embroidery, Horseback riding, Juggling, Urban exploration, Skiing, Cycling, Handball

Introduction: My name is Fr. Dewey Fisher, I am a powerful, open, faithful, combative, spotless, faithful, fair person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.