Chris Nikic is dealing with Down Syndrome but this disability did not stop him from doing the impossible. The 21-year-old from Florida became the first man in history to complete the Ironman Triathlon, making him the first individual to do so.
The Ironman Triathlon is one of the most challenging competitions that is made only for select individuals. It includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and capped by a full marathon 26.2-mile run.
Already treacherous, Nikic would not be denied to prove that he can complete the course. Also worth noting is that the individual from Florida’s task was not easy. He fell off his bike at a nutrition stop and was attacked by ants. Nikic would not be denied of his objective and his perseverance paid off.
Now, Nikic feat will go down in the record books as another person as the first person with Down Syndrome to complete an Ironman competition. He joins an elite group of individuals dealing with some intellectual disabilities to buck the odds and achieve the impossible.
“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,” Nikic wrote on his Instagram account.
Nikic’s feat also drew praise from Ironman via its Facebook page. They congratulated the 21-year-old for his feat and marveled at how he was able to prove that anything is possible.
“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!” the post read.
The improbable feat of Nikic did more than just inspire people dealing with some kind of disability. It also proved that they could be feted and put in the Guinness World Records. Nikic earned that right and was added to the list.
"It's an honour to welcome Chris into the Guinness World Records fraternity as the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an IRONMAN," Guinness Editor-in-Chief Craig Glenday said. "I look forward to seeing what more is in store from this remarkable young man."
Also worth noting is that Nikic is using his winnings to further raise Down Syndrome awareness and the Special Olympics. He is calling on people who would like to donate to do so via his website, ChrisNikic.com. All of the proceeds will go to charities he is backing, his way of giving back and helping others like him.
The feat of Chris Nikic is a good reminder that people with disabilities should not be underestimated. Chris is not the only one who has shown that people with intellectual disabilities can achieve big things.
Among those who proved that in the past include Jason McElwain, who has autism, who sank six three-pointers in the last four minutes of a basketball championship game in the New York District. Outside sports there are individuals like Tim Harris and Max Colson who were able to succeed in putting up businesses.
In all, disabilities are obstacles that anyone can overcome with the right focus and passion.