Athlete Makes History By Becoming First Person With Down Syndrome To Complete An Ironman Race
Chris Nikic has Down Syndrome. What the world considers a disability, Nikic sees as a special ability, an opportunity to overcome any obstacle before him.
“I am a 20-year-old with Down Syndrome and all the associated disabilities, except one,” Nikic said on his website. “I focus on my God-given abilities.”
Those God-given abilities, along with hard work and a drive to become one-percent better every day, propelled him to complete an Ironman triathlon race. Nikic became the first person with Down Syndrome to do so.
The Ironman triathlon race is one of the world’s most challenging. It’s a 2.4-mile swim, 112-miles on a bike, and a 26.2-mile run, according to USA Triathlon. Nikic accomplished every single one of those miles.
“IRONMAN…Goal set and achieved,” Nikic posted on his Instagram. “Time to set a new and BIGGER Goal for 2021. Whatever it is the strategy is the same. 1% Better every day. 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. Inclusion for all of us with all of you.”
Now, Nikic hopes to encourage others to become one-percent better every single day while promoting Down Syndrome awareness and inclusion. So what is the one-percent challenge? We’ll let Nikic explain.
Nikic’s One-Percent Better Challenge:
“1. You get 1% better for 30-days. 2. Help someone do the same,” he writes on his website. “My mission is to honor God by being the best me I can be so I can be an example to others. I want to change the perceptions and raise expectations for others like me so we can reach our God-given potential. Believe and Achieve by Getting “1% Better.”
Nikic also wanted to thank his mom, who couldn’t be at the race because she was “too sick”. But he promised his mom his first Ironman medal.
Here Is Nikic Giving His Mom The Ironman Medal:
And Nikic has inspired thousands of people around the world.
“You are an inspiration to the world! Great job!” a supporter said. “All the efforts you have made in the last months have paid off! Bravo, you are an Ironman but most of all, an inspiration,” another supporter said.
“Well done from Essex,” a supporter in England said. Even James “The Iron Cowboy” Lawrence, who did 50 Ironman races in 50 states in 50 days, congratulated Nikic. “Incredible. Best story of 2020! We are all so proud of you. What an incredible warrior!!”
Nikic has also even been invited to try out the American Ninja Warrior course for season 13.
Along with being an Ironman athlete, Nikic is also a motivational speaker. “My story will inspire you to BELIEVE you can achieve more with a simple PLAN I follow to build a 1% Better HABIT. If I can achieve so much with so little so fast, IMAGINE what YOU can do?” he tells people.
…Through hard work, I can get strong enough to complete an Ironman. We must change our thinking from I can’t to I can BUT I must work harder to BREAK through my low muscle tone. At the age of three, because of my low muscle tone, I needed a walker to walk. I started with a big disadvantage. My sister could walk when she was 9-months. The biggest problem is people think a delay means we can’t do it. NO, a delay is just a delay, it is not permanent. It just means we have to work harder and that’s OK.”Chris Nikic
If you’d like to support Nikic’s mission to spread awareness for Down Syndrome and the Special Olympics, you can visit Nikic’s website. You can also learn more about Down Syndrome and follow Nikic’s journey. Nikic is also available for motivational speaking opportunities.
“I achieved my goal and now I want to help others like me…I will be thanking so many more people over the coming days. But I must start with the 3 Angels who trained with me and did the race with me. Dan, Jenn and Carlos. #inclusion,” Nikic said.
“I’m officially disabled, but I’m truly enabled because of my lack of limbs,” Vujicic has said per Vantage Mobility. “My unique challenges have opened up unique opportunities to reach so many in need.”
“I was slightly brain damaged at birth, and I want people like me to see that they shouldn’t let a disability get in the way,” Boyle, Britain’s Got Talent contestant, said per Vantage Mobility. “I want to raise awareness – I want to turn my disability into ability.”
Nikic has done just that. And so can you. As Nikic said: “Anything is possible.”
Charlie Lapastora is a sports/news multimedia journalist who’s reported, written, produced, anchored, shot video/edited on different NBC, ABC, and FOX shows in multiple TV markets, along with digital & new media companies. Charlie has traveled the country telling national sports, news, feature, and original stories on a cable news network, airing on top 10 TV markets, satellite radio, and digital platforms. He is passionate about his faith, family—being a husband to whom he calls the G.O.A.T. of women—about reppin’ his home state of Michigan and Detroit teams (yes, including the Lions), good coffee, and loves how sports brings people together. He’s traveled the world leading and coaching sports camps and has also worked at the Detroit Pistons and LA Clippers’ NBA teams.