21-year-old becomes first competitor with Down syndrome to complete Ironman Triathlon

BOSTON — Good luck trying to stop Chris Nikic from doing anything. The 21-year-old from Maitland, Fla. recently became the first-ever competitor with Down syndrome to complete an Ironman Triathlon. Nikic is now training for the World Championship Ironman in Kona, Hawaii, which will take place on October 9, 2021.

Chris and his dad, Nik, recently sat down to talk with Boston 25 sports anchor and reporter Butch Stearns to talk about his accomplishments and his life.

“My dad has been told that I won’t do anything, and my dad is like, ‘can the world stop us? No, we’re going to keep going,’” Chris said.

Nik said he knows his son is a role model.


“The perception in the community is that kids with Down syndrome can’t do much. So we looked at Ironman as a way to break some barriers, break some ceilings and get people to think a little differently,” Nik said.

Chris has no limits, but what he does have are goals and dreams.

“Dad says that I’m gifted and I’m special. He wants me to succeed in life. I want to have my own house, and I want to move around places in a car. Most importantly, to marry a smoking hot blond, like my mom!” Chris said.

Chris is a true inspiration. When he is not training for Ironman Triathlon, he is a motivational speaker and talks with groups about his life and experiences. Recently Chris was the keynote speaker for the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress 37th Annual Conference, where Boston 25 won the media award from this organization last year.

By any definition, Chris Nikic is a true Ironman.