Completing a triathlon that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and 26.2-mile run is no easy task. Chris Nikic, special needs athlete from Florida, became the first individual with Down syndrome to finish the 140.6-mile Ironman World Championship race in Hawaii. With volunteer guide Dan Grieb, Nikic completed the race in 16 hours, 31 minutes and 27 seconds. It was an incredible way to celebrate his 23rd birthday, by finishing the race (2,265 of 2,314 competitors) and presenting his girlfriend, a Special Olympics triathlete, with a promise ring. "This is something that changes perceptions for every parent worldwide with children with Down syndrome," said longtime Ironman announcer Mike Reilly. "Now they all know one thing for sure – anything is possible." Nikic has parlayed his triathlon success into his 1% Better Foundation as a platform to show what is possible. In 2020, age 21, he became the first person with Down syndrome to finish an Ironman triathlon, receiving the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance at the 2021 ESPY Awards. After that race, he was invited to participate in the Hawaii triathlon.

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