Florida man with Down syndrome becomes first to complete Ironman triathlon

PANAMA CITY, Fla. — A Florida man became the first competitor with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon.

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Two years ago, Chris Nikic could not run one mile; on Saturday he ran more than 26, WUFT reported.

Nikic, from Matiland, competed in the Ironman Florida, which includes a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile marathon run, in 16:46:09, according to the Special Olympics of Florida.

“A year ago I wrote ‘Chris World Champ,'” Nikic said on social media Sunday. “Anything is possible.”

Nikic worked out with trainer Dan Grieb for about a year to prepare for the race.

"One of the most magical things that has happened to me is that I’ve been able to be introduced into this world,” Grieb told WEAR. “In this world, I’ve learned that a hug can solve a lot of problems and some of the greatest among us are labeled with words like disability.”

His competitiveness is an inspiration to others.

“Congratulations Chris on becoming the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman. You have shattered barriers while proving without a doubt that Anything is Possible,” race officials said on social media. “We are beyond inspired, and your accomplishment is a defining moment in Ironman history that can never be taken away from you. You swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles and now you get to brag for the rest of your life.”