21-year-old Chris Nikic from Florida made history recently when he became the first person with Down’s syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon, which included swimming for 2.4 miles, cycling for 112 miles, and running a 26.2-mile marathon.
The triathlete crossed the finish line at the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds. This was 14 minutes under the 17-hour cutoff time.
This fantastic feat was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records.
In the over four decade history of the Ironman Triathlon, no athlete with Down’s syndrome has even attempted the race, let alone finished one in time.
Nikic himself shared a post on his Instagram account, which said, “YES, I did the work but I had angels helping me. God surrounded me with Angels. Best part of all. New family and friends. All about awareness and inclusion. Awareness for Down Syndrome and Special Olympics. Inclusion for all of us with all of you.”
View this post on Instagram
IRONMAN. Goal set and achieved. Time to set a new and BIGGER Goal for 2021. Whatever it is the strategy is the same. 1% Better every day. YES, I did the work but I had angels helping me. God surrounded me with Angels. Best part of all. New family and friends. All about awareness and inclusion. Awareness for Down Syndrome and Special Olympics. Inclusion for all of us with all of you. I’m sorry for not responding personally to all your messages. It’s amazing but overwhelming because I got 33K new followers and messages since yesterday. I will try and catch up. If you want to support my mission for Down Syndrome and Special Olympics go to my website www.ChrisNikic.com because 100% of the donations go to my charities. I achieved my goal and now I want to help others like me. Thank you to @ironmantri and @im_foundation for making it possible. Thank you @specialolympics @specialolympicsfl for starting the triathlon program. Thank you @rodsracing for giving a home to babies like me. I will be thanking so many more people over the coming days. But I must start with the 3 Angels who trained with me and did the race with me. Dan, Jenn and Carlos. #inclusion
The official account of the Ironman Triathlon also shared a post on social media, congratulating Nikic for his inspiring achievement.
“You have shattered barriers while proving without a doubt that anything is possible,” the official Ironman account tweeted.
.@ChrisNikic, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!
Congratulations Chris on becoming the first person with Down syndrome to finish an IRONMAN. You have shattered barriers while proving without a doubt that Anything is Possible!
— IRONMAN Triathlon (@IRONMANtri) November 8, 2020
But Nikic is not looking to slow down at all. He now has his eyes set on a being part of the 2022 Special Olympics, which will take place in Orlando, Florida!
We wish this young athlete all the luck for a very bright future!