Chris Nikic Becomes Ironman Inspiration as First Ever Finisher with Downs Syndrome

CHRIS Nikic has become the first person with Downs Syndrome to complete a gruelling 140.6-mile, full Ironman race. The iconic race entails a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and a full marathon, 26.2-mile run.

Chris, 21, from Florida, has earned his place with Guinness World Records who called his race “awe inspiring”. He also received recognition from Billie Jean King, former World No. 1 American tennis player, who Tweeted “Keep dreaming big and going for it, Chris!”

The Ironman dream for Chris started 3 years ago, with a challenge from his father Nik Nikic. After realising that Chris’s activity levels were falling and that he needed encouragement to keep in shape, Nik set a challenge. The BBC reports that Nik “encouraged him to become 1% fitter each day. Training began with a single push-up.”

The official Ironman cut-off is 17 hours, and Chris put in an inspirational performance and finished in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds. His father explains that “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.

Chris is set to face his next challenge competing in the 2022 Special Olympics and Tweeted that “I achieved my goal and now I want to help others like me.”

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Written by

Alex Glenn

Originally from the UK, Alex is based in Almeria and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at