21-year-old man made history as the first person with Down’s syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon


Guiness World Records recognized Nikic’s achievement after completing a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 marathon race at the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach.

“Ironman. Target set and achieved, ”Nikic said in a post on Instagram. “It’s time to set a new, bigger target for 2021.”

Nikic finished the race in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds – 14 minutes below the 5 pm deadline.

“We are beyond inspiration, and your accomplishment is a defining moment in Ironman history that can never be taken from you,” said the Ironman Triathlon organization in a post on twitter.
The organization documented the historic race with a social media update series on the day of the competition. The last two kilometers of Nikic’s race were broadcast live on Ironman’s Facebook page.

Nikic and his father Nik have developed the “1% better challenge” to stay motivated during training. The idea is to promote awareness of Down syndrome while achieving a 1% improvement every day, according to Nikic’s website.

“For Chris this race was more than just a finish line and a celebration of victory,” said Nik Nikic. “Ironman served as a platform to become one step closer to its goal of living a life of inclusion and leadership. “

Nikic’s accomplishment has earned him congratulatory messages from celebrities, like awesome tennis Billie Jean King and runner Kara Goucher, and people around the world, including 33,000 new social media followers, according to Nikic.
Chris Nikic and guide Dan Grieb, right, compete in the Ironman Florida race course.

Following his record breaking achievement, Nikic will focus on participating in the 2022 US Special Olympics Games and will continue to fundraise for Special Olympics, Down Syndrome and RODS (Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome) through his platform.

“I achieved my goal and now I want to help others like me,” he wrote on Instagram.


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