DeKalb, IL — A 21-year-old Florida man recently made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to finish an IRONMAN triathlon.
The IRONMAN triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run totaling 140.6 miles, all of which need to be completed in 17 hours.
The Nov. 7 triathlon wasn’t Chris Nikic's first time participating in one. He’s been completing them since he was 16 years old. Nikic has also broken barriers by being the first person with Down syndrome to complete a half-distance triathlon, which is 70.3 miles this past May.
“Special Olympics Florida is incredibly proud of Chris Nikic and the work he’s put in over the last few years to achieve this monumental goal,“ said Sherry Wheelock the President & CEO of Special Olympics Florida, according to Fox 32 Chicago. “Chris has become a hero to many athletes, fans and individuals across Florida and around the country. He is an inspiration to us all, and we couldn’t be prouder of his remarkable accomplishments.”
Nikic has gone through two heart surgeries, seven schools and several ear canal restrictions, but he was able to achieve one of his lifelong goals. His other goals include buying a home and a car and marrying a pretty blonde who’s “just like his mom.”
Nikic hopes to qualify for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games taking place in Florida.