Special Olympics athlete Chris Nikic crossed the finish line on Saturday to become the first person with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon. Guinness 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.
Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief, watched Chris persevere with great joy saying, “It's an honor to welcome Chris into the Guinness World Records fraternity as the first athlete with Down syndrome to complete an IRONMAN, and I look forward to seeing what more is in store from this remarkable young man."
According to the Special Olympics website, Chris conquered a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 marathon run to complete the IRONMAN in a total time of 16:46:09. During the race, he suffered an attack by ants during a nutrition stop and fell off of his bike a couple of times. With blood dripping from his knee, he jumped right back on in a show of true sportsmanship and grit.
"We are beyond inspired, and your accomplishment is a defining moment in Ironman history that can never be taken away from you," the Ironman Triathlon organization said in a post to Twitter.
After his record-setting achievement, Chris will focus on competing in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games and continuing to raise money for Special Olympics RODS (Racing for Orphans with Down Syndrome) through his platform.
"I achieved my goal and now I want to help others like me," he wrote on Instagram.
View footage from Chris’s historical achievement here.
Source: Special Olympics & CNN