Local teenager shattering bodybuilding barriers

16-year-old Fiona Daniels set to be first Wisconsin native with Down Syndrome to compete in official bodybuilding event
Fiona powerlifter

A new year brings many to the YMCA challenging themselves to get a better body, but one body builder here isn’t just testing her physical limits, but the limits of what a body builder can be.

“She will be the first female with down syndrome competing.”

Fiona Daniels was watching body builders with her dad Quincey, when she told him something that surprised him.

“She’s like, they have teen events dad, I want to do this,” Quincey Daniels said. “And I said to compete is going to cost two things, time and effort.”

And she has plenty of both.

“I don’t know that I’ve met many 16-year-olds that have her kind of dedication to her sport,” Daniels said.

With the help of a body building trainer and her dad, she’s gotten stronger.

“Fiona has made some significant gains. She was around 158, now she’s 126.”

These gains have amazed her dad.

“Every day we see her making gains,” he said. “Doing things that most people would not consider the norm. Every day we’re lucky to have her.”

Every day Fiona surprises her dad, including a shocking surprise the day she was born.

“We remember the five minutes after she was born,” Daniels said. “The first thing the doctor told us is that she’d be institutionalized. She wouldn’t have a long life. A lot of things you shouldn’t tell a parent.”

Fiona beat those expectations growing up and plans to keep beating the odds.

“It doesn’t matter what disability you have in life. If you have a dream, you have a goal, with a little hard work. You can do it.”

She’ll need to keep working, as she has months before to train her body, but she’s not so much worried about the performance part of things.

“She has a charismatic flavor to what she likes to do.”

Fiona doesn’t want to be any ordinary body builder. She wants to “Be famous.”

Dad has learned firsthand that there’s no limit to what she can do.

“Fiona will surprise you. She’s not what you think.”