Man With Down Syndrome Accomplishes Incredible Feat

Photo by Marco Verch on Flickr 

Many of us look at athletes with awe and wonder as they break through world records and rip through finishing lines with pride.

Building up the endurance, strength, and sheer will power to become fit enough to complete a professional competition takes more time, effort, and mental stamina than the average person is willing to put forward.

So it is beyond impressive how one young man overcame his disabilities to break a record in one of the toughest competitions to date.

The Special Olympics is proud to announce Chris Nikic as the first athlete with Down syndrome to cross the finish line in an Ironman triathlon.

Hailing from Florida, Nikic competed in the Panama City Beach triathlon in a t-shirt that boasted “1% better everyday”, a mantra that pushed him into greatness.

A year ago I wrote ‘Chris World Champ’,” the 21-year-old Maitland native reminisced in a tweet.

He closed the trending tweet with“Anything is Possible.”

Nikic not only set incredible personal and national records with the Ironman triathlon, but he set a Guinness World Record by accomplishing what many thought to be impossible.

His hard work and dedication inspired people around the globe!

One fan tweeted:

It’s official, Florida athlete @ChrisNikic is an IRONMAN.”

Mommy Underground has previously reported on other amazing individuals with Down syndrome who have broken glass ceilings, like Kate Grant.

Grant had a dream of becoming a model, but there were those who doubted her abilities.

After a couple years of trying to make it in the business a San Franciscan based make-up line picked Grant to be the face of their new eye liner.

With thousands seeing her featured in ads as a beautiful 17-year-old girl who also happens to have Down syndrome, she changed the hearts and minds of those who thought she was incapable of meeting her goals.

This must be the same sentiments felt by onlookers as they watched Nikic cross the finish line after 16 hours, 46 minutes, and 9 seconds of laying it all on the line.

The grueling event consists of a 2.4 mile swim, 122 mile bike ride, before finishing up with a marathon run of 26.2 miles!

Even though Nikic “has undergone two heart surgeries and multiple ear canal reconstructions,” Fox News reports, he is hoping to qualify for the 2020 Special Olympics USA Games in Orlando, Florida.

I would say at this rate of training he is a shoo-in!

President and CEO of Florida’s Special Olympic organization, Sherry Wheelock, had some endearing words to say about Nikic and all his hard work to Fox News:

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. 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.”

Nik Nikic, the athlete’s father, told the Orlando Sentinel how the doctors had doubted his son would be able finish a race like the Ironman, but were shown how those with Down syndrome are more than meets the eye:

From the time he was born, we were told by everyone that he’d never do anything or amount to anything or be able to accomplish anything [beyond] being able to tie his own shoes. And we believed them for the longest time.”

But like Nikic’s father, the world was able to see how a 21-year-old man with Down syndrome can do more than most young men his age when he puts his heart and mind to something.

It’s high time society at large wakes up to the potential, instilled value, and worth of those with Down syndrome.

They are not a burden, a mistake, or hindrance to progress. They are another human being breathing, feeling, inspiring, and breaking world records.