Chris Nikic Is First Athlete With Down Syndrome To Finish Ironman World Championship

October 10, 2022

There was not a dry eye in the house after Chris Nikic became the first person with Down Syndrome to finish the Ironman World Championship triathlon in Kona Friday night.

Iron Man Chris Nikic
Chris Nikic / @chrisnikic

With help of his volunteer guide, Dan Grieb, Nikic completed the 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run in 16 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds.

When Nikic crossed the finish line, he jumped into the arms of Grieb.

"This is something that changes perceptions for every parent worldwide with children with Down syndrome," said Ironman finish-line announcer, Mike Reilly. "Now they all know one thing for sure – anything is possible."

Nikic credits his success to his philosophy: Just get 1% better every day.

"It's easy to be successful because I only need to get one percent better each day," the 23-year-old said.

The Ironman World Championship has been held annually in Hawaii since 1978. Qualifying for the World Championship is achieved through placement in one of the other Ironman races.

Last November, Nikic completed his first full Ironman.

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