A 21-year-old man has made history as the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman tri

Dr. Amir Petrus Dawood

Special Olympics athlete Chris Nikic crossed the finish line on Saturday, November 7 to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.

Guiness World Records recognized Nikic’s achievement after he finished a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-marathon run at the Ironman Florida competition in Panama City Beach.

Ironman. Goal set and achieve,” said Nikic in a post to Instagram. “Time to set a new and Bigger Goal for 2021.”

Nikic completed the race in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds -- 14 minutes under the 17-hour cutoff time.

Nikic fell off his bike and was attacked by ants at a nutrition stop, but he pushed on to finish the competition, the Special Olympics said in a release.

Nikic and his father Nik developed the “1 percent better challenge” to stay motivated during training. The idea is to promote Down syndrome awareness while achieving 1% improvement each day, according to Nikic’s website.



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