Man with Down’s syndrome runs Iron Man race and wins, gives medal to mom
They said it couldn't be done, so he proved them wrong.
Naomi Lai

Chris Nikic is making sports history after setting a new Guinness World Record. Through years of dedication and hard work, the 20-year-old triathlete has become the world’s first person with Down’s Syndrome to complete the gruelling Iron Man Race.

“I was born a Down Syndrome Kid. The next morning I woke up as an IRON MAN.” – Chris Nikic

And the inspiring story doesn’t just end with his achievement.

It’s how he chose to share the good news with his mom that’s warming hearts across the internet.

If you’re like me and get tired after working out for 20 minutes, imagine swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles, and then running 26.2 miles! That’s the length of a whole marathon, on top of the swimming and cycling, by the way.

The trailblazer from Florida finished the race in 16 hours, 46 minutes, and nine seconds.

“I can prove to kids that if I can do it, they can do it too.” – Chris Nikic

She dedicated her life to helping him, the two are very close.

His mom was too ill to make it to the big race, but he brought the win home to her. When he walked in the door, he greeted her with a big hug, and put the medal around her neck.

That’s enough to bring you to tears!

Chris and his father created what they call the “1% better challenge”.

It helps with focus and goal-setting during the gruelling physical training it takes to complete something like an Iron Man. The idea is to take it one step at a time and aim to improve just 1% every day.

But when you train for four to six hours every day, it’s pretty hard not to continuously improve!

From push ups and sit ups, to long bike rides, and even training with a parachute on when he runs, Chris had some insanely intensive workout routines to prepare him for the big race day.

It’s also their Down syndrome awareness campaign.

And after Chris’s historic win, they’re certainly bringing a lot of awareness to the cause! The story has gone viral and people are celebrating his win around the world.

Since Chris crossed the finish line, he’s been making waves and has received a flood of messages with congratulations and encouragement from family, friends, celebrities, and strangers alike.

Billie Jean King, who broke down gender barriers in the tennis world, sent him some love over Twitter.

She can understand better than most how important it is to defy expectations and earn your place at the top of your craft.

He has joined the big leagues, and his triathlon bib made it onto the Iron Man Wall of Fame among other great athletes.

And this is just the beginning!

Chris isn’t stopping now. He already has his sights set on the 2022 Special Olympics!

Chris’s dad spoke to the BBC about the achievement.

“To Chris, this race was more than just a finish line and celebration of victory. Ironman has served as his platform to become one step closer to his goal of living a life of inclusion, normalcy, and leadership. It’s about being an example to other kids and families that face similar barriers, proving no dream or goal is too high… If Chris can do an Ironman, he can do anything.”

He’s an inspiration to us all!

You can follow him on Twitter or Instagram to see what his next big goal will be.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

Share this article
By Naomi Lai
Naomi Lai is a contributor at SBLY Media.